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Judgement Day in doubt as contract is terminated.

Byline: Simon Thomas Rugby correspondent simon.thomas@walesonline.co.uk

THE future of Judgement Day has been thrown into doubt, with the existing agreement between the WRU and the regions for the showpiece event having been terminated.

It is now unclear whether the Millennium Stadium double header will go ahead this season.

The WRU say they are keen for it to take place and have a date - the weekend of April 24-26 - pencilled in their diary.

That would be Judgement Day III, with the event having been first introduced in the 2012-13 season.

But, as things stand, there is no agreement in place for it to continue and a new one would have to be struck for the Blues, Ospreys, Dragons and Scarlets to take part in another attractive Millennium double header.

It's understood the Union contacted the regions last week to inform them the existing agreement no longer stood.

This was because the terms for Judgement Day were entered into under the old Participation Agreement, which has now expired, with a new Rugby Services Agreement having been signed after months of dispute.

Under the original contract, the two home sides - the Blues and the Dragons - received a guaranteed fee from the WRU for switching their games to the Millennium.

The Union say they are keen to meet with the regions and agree new terms "as quickly as possible."

Judgement Day was introduced two seasons ago, with the idea being to try and replicate the success of the London Double Header at Twickenham, which opens the Aviva Premiership campaign and attracts huge crowds.

Establishing a Welsh version of the big day out was widely welcomed as a concept and the initial signs were encouraging.

The inaugural event in March 2013 drew a crowd of 36,174, with the Scarlets beating the Dragons 28-20 and the Ospreys defeating the Blues 23-16.

But last season the attendance was down to 30,411, amid some criticism over the scheduling, with the games being played on Easter Sunday (April 19).

Judgement Day II saw the Blues claim a 17-13 victory over the Scarlets, while the Ospreys overcame the Dragons 20-10.

It had been anticipated the event would go ahead again this season at the Millennium Stadium, with the four Welsh regions scheduled to meet in derbies on the weekend of April 24-26.

The Blues are due to face the Ospreys, with the Dragons taking on the Scarlets.

But there is now uncertainty over whether there will be a Judgement Day III.

However the Union insist they want to carry on with the double header project.

A WRU spokesperson said: "The WRU is looking forward to continuing the partnership with Cardiff Blues and the Newport Gwent Dragons which has produced two successful Judgement Day events at the Millennium Stadium.

"The Millennium Stadium has a date in its diary - the weekend of 24th April - for the event and has indicated to both parties its desire to meet and discuss terms for Judgment Day III.

"The terms for hosting Judgement Day were entered into during the old participation agreement, which has now terminated, but the WRU is keen to meet and agree new terms as quickly as possible."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 23, 2014
Words:531
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