Welsh rugby team faces strange weekend as four regions set to clash with Wales and Barbarians

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This weekend is destined to be a strange one for the Welsh rugby team.

On Friday night, the Swansea-based Fish Eagles will play a ‘home’ Union Rugby Championship (URC) match against South African side the Sharks in South West London.

Less than 24 hours later, Wales will play a non-national match against the invited Barbarians in Cardiff.

The match is less than an hour before the Welsh league derby between the Scarlets and Cardiff in Llanelli, while Wales’ other professional team, the Dragons, will face defending URC champions Munster in Cork.

Critics have argued that scheduling a match against Wales the week after the World Cup final would disrupt Wales’ domestic competition.

Welsh rugby team faces strange weekend as four regions set to clash with Wales and Barbarians

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) says a large proportion of turnover comes from gate receipts from international matches, which are vital to the financial future of Welsh rugby.

However, there are concerns that the scheduling of the Welsh game could have a negative impact on attendances for the Welsh league derby between the Scarlets and Cardiff City.

Scarlets manager Dwayne Peel described the game as “unhelpful” and “frustrating”.

The Welsh League Alliance acknowledged the game was a mistake and said it would not happen again.

However, the Welsh professional game clearly needs some joined-up thinking.

The four regions are already in financial difficulties and games like the Welsh game only make things worse.

For Welsh rugby to flourish, the WRU and the regions need to work together to create a sustainable model for the professional game.

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