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Muppets at the WRU are not so slick on the draw.

Byline: By DELME PARFITT South Wales Echo

Once the Powergen Cup semi-finals have been decided at the Millennium Stadium in March they ought to call in the Welsh Rugby Union to make the draw for the final.

I can picture it now, two men in grey suits sitting solemnly either side of the old velvet bag.

'Team One.'

'Llanelli Scarlets.'

'Will play Team Two.'

'London Wasps.'

'And that concludes the draw for the Powergen Cup final....'

Having cocked-up the draw for their own domestic cup on more than one occasion - last week being the latest - it would at least restore public confidence in the governing body's ability to select balls randomly from a concealed compartment.

That wasn't exactly the problem this time though.

No, even the WRU has moved on from putting the same team in the hat twice and leaving one out.

Yes, that did happen once in the late nineties and live on television just to maximise embarrassment.

This time they hadn't...ahem...read their own handbook which contained rules that decreed all 16 Premiership teams should have been seeded to avoid playing each other in the third round of the Konica Minolta Cup.

It meant holders Llanelli were knocked out by Premiership rivals Llandovery, while Pontypool went down to Carmarthen Quins and Bedwas lost out to Cross Keys.

More all-Premiership ties in the fourth round - Neath play Bridgend which would have been about the best match-up the final could have hoped for - will only increase the likelihood of a mismatch in May's supposed showpiece.

And let's face it, if that affair is played before even less people than last year's Millennium Stadium non-event, it could prompt calls for the whole thing to be switched across to Pontcanna Fields.

Of course, it takes spectacular incompetence to have arrived at this situation.

And what makes it worse is that there's no going back now. Heaven knows what the sponsors make of such crass carelessness.

If it was my money behind the competition I'd be demanding a refund and vowing not to part with a brass farthing more in future.

What's more, if I was in the shoes of either Fred Konica or Joe Minolta I would not be best pleased with the union's response when the mistake was brought to their attention by Llanelli.

'We are aware of the situation and so are the clubs, and we've received no complaints from any club.'

For starters, whether they have received any complaints or not is totally besides the point.

But more importantly, where's the apology for not only ruining the chances of many Premiership clubs to win the competition but also depriving smaller outfits the chance of money-spinning ties against higher opposition?

How do the WRU expect supporters to care enough to part with money to go through turnstiles to watch these matches when they themselves treat the whole thing with such disrespect?

I'm just thankful such muppets did not have to oversee the far more complex draw for football's World Cup finals in Germany last Friday.

Although saying that, it might have been the only way to get Wales involved.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 15, 2005
Words:521
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