How the once mighty Neath have fallen

The Rugby Paper - - Premiership -

THERE was a time at the end of the ama­teur era when, un­der Ron Wal­dron, Neath raised their game to a level high enough to slug it out with New Zealand, Aus­tralia and South Africa. Last week they couldn’t raise a team.

The cri­sis en­velop­ing the proud old town’s rugby club prompted more than the can­cel­la­tion of yes­ter­day’s Welsh Premier­ship match at Bed­was. Mike Cuddy, the be­lea­guered owner of the orig­i­nal All Blacks, re­sponded to calls for his res­ig­na­tion with some star­tling claims.

“I have been in­volved in Neath Rugby for over 25 years dur­ing which I have spent over £1m of my own money sup­port­ing this club,’’ he said. “We re­cruited sig­nif­i­cant, ex­pe­ri­enced and sub­se­quently un­der­per­form­ing play­ers the ma­jor­ity of whom did not un­der­stand our val­ues and did not have our club at heart.

“In spite of the bonuses be­ing paid, poor on-field per­for­mances con­tin­ued. This made us both the most ex­pen­sive and, by some dis­tance, the worst per­form­ing team in the League.’’

A ma­jor driv­ing force be­hind the Ospreys be­fore his res­ig­na­tion from the re­gional team, Cuddy said he was un­able to at­tend a sup­port­ers’ meet­ing in mid­week due to ‘poor health’. His de­mo­li­tion com­pany col­lapsed a few months ago.

Whether Neath are still around this time next week hinges on the out­come of a wind­ing-up pe­ti­tion to be heard in Cardiff on Thurs­day af­ter an ad­journ­ment last week.

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