Welsh rugby will get worse before it gets better - Shanklin

L-R: There was weekend disappointment for Ospreys' Justin Tipuric, Gareth Davies of Scarlets, Dragons' Matthew Screech and Cardiff's Mackenzie Martin
Ospreys have won eight out of 16 games in the URC this season while Scarlets, Dragons and Cardiff have a total of nine between them, three each [Huw Evans Agency]

Former Wales centre Tom Shanklin says Welsh rugby will get worse before it gets better following another winless weekend for the professional sides.

It was a fifth round of URC games this season where all four Welsh teams were defeated with all the losses by more than 10 points.

Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff and Dragons sides are in the bottom six of the league table with two rounds remaining.

The four sides have only managed a collective 17 wins in 64 league games this season so far, with only eight successes against non-Welsh teams, the other triumphs coming in Welsh derbies.

Ospreys have been the most successful with eight wins but on Saturday they conceded more than 60 points for the second successive week with the 61-20 loss to Leinster following the 61-24 hammering against Bulls in Pretoria.

It means Toby Booth's side are eight points off the top eight play-off positions with two weekends remaining.

So Wales face the prospect of having no side in the Champions Cup for the first time next season and no representation in the URC play-offs for the second successive year.

The wage bills for the four sides were reduced to £5.2m for this season resulting in smaller squad and the total will go down further to £4.5m for the 2024-25 campaign.

"We can't compete with the top five or six sides," Shanklin told Scrum V Sunday.

"Until something changes we are going to be constantly be in the bottom half of the table.

"I can't see us improving next year, in fact I think it will be worse, because you are losing so many players.

"Unless something drastic happens where we have higher budgets, more money to spend on players and keep them, we are going to be even worse than last year."

Shanklin believes continued failure could lead to supporters walking away rom Welsh rugby.

"We have to be careful at the moment otherwise we are going to have fans turning away from watching rugby and they are going to be finding another sport," said Shanklin.

"We need teams to be in quarter-finals and semi-finals and in the latter stages of Europe because at the moment we are way off."

Welsh Rugby Union performance director Nigel Walker, chief executive Nigel Walker and chair Richard Collier-Keywood
Abi Tierney (centre) officially took over as the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chief executive in January 2024 [Huw Evans Picture Agency]

This failure goes alongside the two national Wales teams finishing bottom of the Six Nations tables, with only one victory in 10 games between them as Warren Gatland's men's side lost all five matches.

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chief executive Abi Tierney says a new Welsh rugby strategy will be announced by the end of June.

"It is important we have a vision of how and why it's going to get better and how long that is going to take," said Shanklin.

"At the moment you look at the year Welsh rugby has had, we are not challenging for anything.

"There needs to be something changed and some positive news come out as to where we are going."