PLANS for a new northern rugby region have been scrapped as the Professional Rugby Board announced that current structure will remain in place until at least the 2020-2021 season.

The Project Reset proposal to controversially merge Ospreys and Scarlets was met with huge backlash from supporters and players alike, and following a meeting between the domestic game’s power-brokers it was determined that the drastic changes

The PRB, which runs the Welsh professional game, declared it is "united in its pursuit of what is best" without outlining plans beyond next season.

This means that Ospryes, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and the Dragons will continue to represent Welsh professional rugby in domestic and European competition next term.

It was set to be Welsh rugby's biggest domestic shake-up since the inception of regional sides 16 years ago, but it faced immediate hostility.

A statement from the PRB and Welsh Rugby Union, said: “Although the PRB has previously supported the principle for a proposed merger of two teams, it has since been noted that this merger has been deemed ‘off the table’ by both interested parties.

“This means that budgets have subsequently been approved and player contracting can be concluded, with an emphasis on securing Welsh talent.

“It is hoped that the emotion generated by the exploration of merger options can now be translated into support for the professional Welsh teams, helping create a sustainable future for the game in Wales.”

The PRB added that Wales “needs four professional teams in order to ensure sustainable success for the national side”, and “all entities need to be successful on and off the field” in order for the game to progress.

The news comes as a significant blow to rugby fans in the North Wales region, with the sport going from strength-to-strength in recent years thanks to the emergence and community involvement of Principality Premiership side and former WRU National Cup winners RGC.

“Whilst the focus is on taking the professional game forward, the PRB are unanimous in their support of the ring-fencing of funding for the community game - a vibrant club game is the bedrock of all rugby in Wales,” the statement added.