Welsh rugby committed to four professional sides - Bradley

Ospreys chief executive Lance Bradley says he believes Welsh rugby remains committed to four professional clubs.

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) executive director of rugby Nigel Walker told Scrum V cutting the number of regions to three is still a possibility and remains "on the table".

The WRU are preparing a long-term strategy for Welsh rugby which chief executive Abi Tierney says will be published in June.

Representatives of the regions and the WRU met this week with the status quo of Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff and Dragons still being planned for.

"I wasn't concerned with Nigel's comments because this is part of a process," Bradley told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"Abi said she wanted the WRU to work more closely with the four professional clubs and that is what's been happening.

"We have been working on a thorough review of rugby in Wales and that includes looking at everything.

"With any huge review of that nature, you don't start by saying you are not going to look at this possibility.

"What Nigel said was that it doesn't mean you might wake up and find out one of the clubs is not going to be playing anymore.

"That's not the case. It will be years away if anything does happen. You would expect everything to be included in a review and the four professional sides have been included in that."

Bradley insisted losing a region was "definitely not an inevitability".

"The plans we are going through, and we had a meeting with the WRU on Wednesday, the absolutely clear assumption we are working towards is still having four professional clubs," said Bradley.

"But Nigel is right, you can't or shouldn't rule out the possibility and you must look at all the options, but the very clear preference is to have four professional sides."

New home decision

Ospreys are planning for a long-term future having this week confirmed their new stadium will be based at St Helen's in Swansea or the Brewery Field in Bridgend.

They aim to move from the Stadium in time for the start of the 2025-26 campaign.

Bradley says a final decision will have to be made "reasonably quickly" and will be taken by the Ospreys board, with the chief executive compiling a list of pros and cons of both options and making a recommendation.

"They are both interesting sites," said Bradley.

"The Brewery Field has existing facilities which need doing up, while St Helen's has a terrace and a stand but we would need to move the pitch so it was parallel with the terrace, then move the stand and install new ones.

"So you are kind of installing a new stadium. The costs of St Helen's are a bit higher than Bridgend but the non match-day opportunities are probably greater there."

Bradley says neither option would involve public funding with a loan or investment required for the move.

"One of the options we have been looking at is investment," said Bradley.

"But it's also a function where we can borrow money to put the stadium in and over what period of time we have to pay that back. So we are looking at every option."

Bradley insisted fans' views would be taken into major consideration while he was also talking with players, coaches and staff.

Ospreys have held two matches in Bridgend this season, a United Rugby Championship (URC) win against Cardiff on 1 January and the Challenge Cup victory over Sale in April.

Bradley indicated the initial capacity of the ground would be around 8,000 with the ability to go up to 12,000 if demand required.

"We know we have more fans in Swansea at the moment than we do in Bridgend but what we don't know if we did go to the Brewery Field is whether we would generate new fans in Bridgend," said Bradley.

"The atmosphere for the games against Cardiff and Sale were fantastic. I don't know if that was the case because it was in Bridgend or a smaller stadium.

"I suspect it was because it was in a more compact stadium with a big terrace that fans could feel the emotion of the game.

"So either option would be good."