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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Warriors slam WRU plans
Success on the field may not be enough to save the Warriors
The players couldn't be told whether the Warriors would exist next year
Warriors board member John Samuel
The Warriors management say that the Welsh Rugby Union are set to renege on a promise to keep the team alive.

The regional side's board members John and Leighton Samuel insist they had assurances from the WRU before they handed the Union control of the club.

"We were absolutely guaranteed the Warriors would continue, just not with us in charge," said John Samuel.

"We were to play in the Celtic League and Heineken Cup next year, but I think there's been a change of plan."

It seems likely that the Warriors will close as the WRU want to reduce the number of regions from five to four.

The Union's group chief executive David Moffett will undertake a review of the club and present his findings within 10 days.

"We've been taken aback and are very unhappy with the Union," said Samuel.

"There was a meeting with the players this week and they couldn't be told if they would be paid next month, nor whether the Warriors would exist next year.

Warriors coach Lynn Howells
It will leave a big hole in Welsh rugby
Warriors coach Lynn Howells
"It's been increasingly difficult to work with the Union over the last couple of weeks as they have not allowed us to make any business decisions without their approval.

"We've worked flat out through a very difficult season to achieve success, but it feels like we've built a house and someone else has moved in."

Warriors coach Lynn Howells was equally pessimistic about the future.

"We've been told that the Union is looking at finances and all the other issues surrounding the region, such as television contracts and the teams that will play in European competition," Howells told BBC Wales.

"I think they'll close the region, those are the vibes we are getting - it's a sad day.

"It hurts because we've fought to get into the Heineken Cup, the players have become a squad and forged an identity, and the fans were starting to buy into it.

"This smacks of being a financial rather than a rugby decision. The WRU always wanted a big four, but the side they've picked on was the one with the structures in place to really take things forward.

"It's the valleys again, they always seem to be the ones to take the brunt of it, but it will leave a big hole in Welsh rugby.

"It's not just the Warriors but the whole development side and academy structure that will be lost.

"When our suspicions are confirmed I am out of a job and so are all the players."



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