Exclusive By Steffan Thomas
The Ospreys have blocked rugby fans from watching today’s Welsh derby against the Scarlets.
The rugby -starved Welsh public could have seen the two bitter rivals go head to head live on S4C, just a week before the start of the new Guinness Pro 14 season.
But the decision to broadcast the pre-season friendly at Parc Y Scarlets needed both sides to agree and the Ospreys were unwilling to allow in the cameras.
🦊 Foxy’s back!!https://t.co/O2elJW3Kdk
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) September 24, 2020
Dai Sport understands new Ospreys head coach Toby Booth was reluctant to allow armchair fans to see what he considered to be a training session, on the eve of the new campaign.
The Ospreys endured a horrid run last season, winning only two games all campaign in the Pro 14 and Booth – who took over this summer – has a huge job on hands to make his team competitive with their regional rivals.
S4C were keen to broadcast the game live, which would have meant much-needed income for both regions as well as the valuable exposure of live coverage.
It’s understood the Scarlets were disappointed at their neighbours’ decision, which left them baffled.
Both sides are under new leadership with Simon Muderack replacing Nigel Short as chairman of the Scarlets and the Asian-based Y11 Sports & Media company becoming the Ospreys’ major shareholder.
Live coverage would have been an opportunity for both sides to market themselves further ahead of the new domestic season which will kick off next week behind closed doors.
With no supporters present, the presence of S4C cameras would at least have given both sets of fans the chance to keep up to date with the action and run the rules over their teams ahead of next week’s opening round of league fixtures.
Both sets of supporters will now have to rely on updates from social media channels.
While both sides are fielding experimental starting XV’s all eyes will be on the return of Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies, who makes his first start since Wales’ World Cup bronze medal clash with New Zealand.