WELSH Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips says the governing body and the four regions “will not shy away from making difficult decisions” in their fresh agreement, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Union and representatives from the Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues have been locked in talks over a new funding model.

The new Professional Rugby Agreement will replace the Rugby Services Agreement, which expires in 2020. It has been agreed but not yet activated.

Under the new accord the regions will set on and off-field targets and receive funding accordingly. They will then have to hit those marks.

“A further degree of financial rigour has been introduced to ensure that expectations are both realistic and sustainable, but the ultimate aim is for all entities to be successful in the competitions within which they compete,” read a WRU statement.

The Professional Rugby Board this week thrashed out the deal with representatives from the WRU and the regional quartet present.

Chairman David Buttress represented the Dragons along with the WRU’s finance director Steve Phillips, who also sits on the board of the Union-owned Rodney Parade region.

"We are five entities and we will determine what is best for Welsh rugby with long-term objectives driven by pursuit of both success and sustainability,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

"Nothing is off the table and we will be both bold and innovative in our thinking as we ask the fundamental questions about what is best for the future of our national game.

"We are all in this together and the mood in the room is very much one of excitement about the future and the progress and impact we know we will be able to make.

"The last 18 months have been both challenging and rewarding and the last few days in particular have been extremely productive.

"This is a dynamic group and we will not shy away from making difficult decisions. We recognise there will be tough choices ahead and there may be setbacks along the way but, as a group, we are determined to do what is necessary to set the game up for long term success.

"We are duty bound to provide the leadership our game deserves."

No specifics of the deal have been released but it features a new salary banding system that will lead to the end of national dual contracts.