PLAID Cymru assembly member Rhun ap Iorwerth called for the Welsh Rugby Union to make a professional region in the north.

In a debate at the National Assembly for Wales on rugby on Wednesday, March 27, the Ynys Môn AM said having a professional region in North Wales would be a “major step forward” but that nothing should be taken away from the excellent professional regions we have in the south.

Assembly Members debated the importance of rugby to the people of Wales, the economic benefits the game delivers, and its special place in the fabric of communities across our nation.

The debate came following the scrapped Project Reset plans by the Professional Rugby Board, which would have seen Ospreys and Scarlets merge to make way for a new northern region.

Mr ap Iorwerth, a junior rugby coach on Anglesey, addressed the Senedd and claimed that a North Wales region should be put in place to ensure rugby “remains a national game”.

He said: “If we are serious about making rugby a national game, then we must ensure that it’s a professional game at a national level too.

“And the response of North Wales to the Wales under-20 games in Colwyn Bay is proof of the appetite that there is to see rugby at the highest level in the region.

“I delight in seeing the young boys that I train being selected for youth teams in north Wales. There were a dozen of them, almost, playing in games earlier this week.

“Getting a professional team, creating those idols for them in their own region, would be a major step forward, and I look forward to seeing this conversation continue, and I hope that the end point will be to bring professional rugby to North Wales, taking nothing away from the excellent professional teams we already have in the south.”

The current structure will remain in place until at least the 2020/21 campaign following criticism of the Project Reset plans from current players and supporters.