Bill Beaumont tells Westcountry clubs to work together
Rugby Football Union chairman Bill Beaumont has suggested that clubs in the Westcountry should work in partnerships to ensure their future success.
During a recent visit to Cornwall, Beaumont acknowledged the difficulties facing clubs in remote regions of the country.
Reductions in RFU funding have badly affected Cornish Pirates and Plymouth Albion in the Championship as well as those in the National Leagues such as Redruth and the Cornish All Blacks.
And while Beaumont acknowledged Exeter Chiefs' success could result in the Aviva Premiership club taking a majority of commercial opportunities, he believes it is the other clubs' responsibility to build positive relationships with one another to survive.
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He said: "In terms of competition, where I live in the north west of England you have six Premier League football teams within a 40-minute drive, three Championship football teams and all the rugby league teams. Wherever you go, you can always find examples of why it is hard.
"It is tough for clubs but clubs should be about their communities. It is not necessarily always about what the first team are doing.
"It is about what they are putting back into the game – how many of they got in the mini-juniors and the colts? How many teams are they running? Are they running women's rugby? Do they run tag rugby and beach rugby in the summer?
"There are lots of things clubs can do."
He also suggested the trend of borrowing players from higher leagues on dual-registration was good for the development of young players.
During a meeting at Polson Bridge to discuss the future direction of the RFU's governance, Beaumont was questioned by local coaches who have grown frustrated by bigger clubs' attempts to lure their most talented young players away.
It was suggested their the majority, who fail to make the grade before being loaned out and eventually released, are frequently then lost to the game for good.
However, Beaumont said: "I think dual-registration is excellent and works very well if you've got the right infrastructure at a club like Launceston.
"They've got decent facilities, good floodlights, good coaches and there should be partnerships between the Championship, National Leagues and the Premiership.
"There are challenges but also fantastic opportunities as well. We need to look at the whole structure of the game – is it right? Is it working?"