NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have been brought closer together with their regions rivals courtesy of their spat with the Welsh Rugby Union says chief executive Gareth Davies.
After over two years of dispute the governing body and Regional Rugby Wales, the body that represents the Dragons, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Scarlets, finally agreed a new Rugby Services Agreement that will run through to 2020.
The episode put the quartet under great financial pressure yet they have emerged out the other side in better shape, according to the former Wales and Lions fly-half.
Davies, who is standing for a position as a national director on the board of the WRU, said: "The outcome was four regions coming together into one entity. Perhaps people underestimated that.
"It has given us tremendous faith in each other and given us great strength. Regional rugby is now truly established and will go from strength to strength.
"That's been the real positive outcome of us having to stick together through some pretty tough times."
Davies also believes that RRW is now a body that has teeth.
"RRW to date has been there to pay some bills and be a fire-fighting body," he said. "What we want to create now is RRW becoming a strong body in its own right, dealing with the WRU and dealing with commercial matters."
The regions, who are also stakeholders in the new European competitions, worked together to secure a bumper sponsorship deal with BT Sport and Davies believes there will be plenty more collective bargaining in the future.
"Should we be having deals to reduce travel costs? Should we be doing kit deals together? Should be doing branding on the stadiums together? Without question there is greater value in the collective," said Davies.
"And if all four of us put our inventory, although I hate that word, together then more opportunities open up.
"You are only going to get big money from big companies and they are more likely to support RRW than the Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets or the Blues individually."