It’s been an eventful season for the Scarletts with the departure of Glenn Delaney and the appointment of Dwayne Bale as head coach after he was originally slated to be linked with Cardiff.
There have also been huge financial challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing impasse with the WRU over payments for the period ahead.
Their boss, a successful businessman Simon ModracAt the helm, a little over a year ago.
So how does he think about the past twelve months and what lies ahead?
Here are his thoughts.
Q: How much boost will it be for the fans to return to Parkway Scarletts in Sunday’s final game of the season against Edinburgh?
A: The whole club is really excited.
To be honest, it was a real pain and we’re not going to make money. We’re really going to lose money because of oversight.
But everyone just wants to do it.
We had 1,600 people renew their season tickets for this season with no way of seeing if we could get them in at all.
So we feel as if we owe these people an enormous amount of goodwill.
We also have more than a dozen boys leaving the club, so there is a chance to say goodbye to them and their families.
We will continue to push protocols to get as many people as possible, but we hope to get to a few thousand.
Q: How difficult was it to break up company with Glenn Delaney?
A: Glenn is just a great guy. It’s very popular, so that obviously doesn’t make it easier.
But we should look to the future with optimism.
We have a few major years ahead in rugby.
We have the new PRO16, which will be announced next week, some other changes in Europe, and the prospect of global club competition in a couple of years. We have to get out in full swing.
Q: When you look back on Dwayne Bell’s recruiting, how do you think about that whole episode?
A: It was obviously talked about in the press.
The novel was about one person in solitude, but in reality everything changed.
Cardiff and we have gone in different directions than we were six months ago.
Clearly, Dae Young’s arrival was a huge change in the direction of the blues, and for us, Glenn was ahead.
Q: Cardiff was clearly dissatisfied at the time with the situation with Dwayne. How difficult was that period?
A: Without a doubt, there was a bit of friction and a bit of someone saying what.
Over the years, the relationships between the four regions have had their ups and downs, but we’re trying to get into a much better routine of being honest with each other and banding together to move the game forward.
Are we going to compete with each other on some things and compete for talent? Yes, of course we will. We’re going to want to get some things done when we meet twice a year on the pitch.
But the chairs and directors get along very well.
Q: Did you have to pay compensation to either Cardiff or Worcester to facilitate Matt Sheratt’s replacement for Bedouin at Arms Park?
A: Look, it’s not a topic I can really comment on.
Worcester was very supportive in our discussions and both us and the Blues really appreciated that.
We are so glad we accomplished it and we are now looking forward to it.
Q: What do you hope Dwayne brings to the region?
A: He’s clearly a creator of cochineal and can help us tremendously in getting back to our basic DNA.
But he also went to improve himself and gave himself a different set of experiences.
So he has a lot of views and the feedback we get is that he’s a great coach. I know the boys are really looking forward to working with him.
Q: What is the plan in terms of the support staff beside him?
A: The key is that we must bring some experience and quality to the group.
We’ve got a head to perform, which we haven’t announced yet. We see that really important, so we can do a better job managing the team during a very difficult season.
He’s basically someone who sits at the head of the strength, conditioning, and medical team. They will manage each player individually to maximize performance.
Q: Are you close to reaching a solution with WRU over its payments to the regions for the upcoming season?
A: Look, the fiscal year starts on the 1st of July.
So, by definition, we’re closer. This needs to be resolved.
We then need to look at what we can expect on a three-year basis, so we can start running ourselves like most of the other businesses I’m involved in.
We must be able to plan on this basis, in order to be more efficient.
Then it comes to how we can increase this money for distribution by doing a better job of managing rugby.
Some narrative is that this is the money that WRU gives us.
It’s actually the money we make.
We provide income generating articles.
Wales won the Six Nations Championship this year. You look at this team and where did most of the players come from? They come from the regions.
We compete in competitions and pay our bills. We pay players’ salaries. We feed them.
In our club, we serve them 12 meals a week, 600 boiled eggs every morning!
We are not looking for a donation or distribution. All the money goes to a central pot and then gets distributed, but the money goes into the pot because of the work we do.
Q: The likes of Dean Ryan have expressed their frustration with the delay in getting budgets for next season. Do you find it frustrating how long does the solution take?
A: Dean is a great rugby guy and he wants to keep playing rugby. I have a lot of respect for him and I feel the same way.
It was difficult to manage with the uncertainty about the budget.
We want to continue to run rugby and we want to be successful.
It is clear that books must be balanced, as in every work. But do I feel that we can be more efficient and effective and get through things more quickly? Absolutely.
Q: How would you describe the relationship between the Regions and the WRU at the moment?
A: We need to improve it a lot and we can.
The relationship across professional rugby as a whole should be very different from what it is.
I’m honestly struggling to see why in this exciting new world of rugby, where CVC put money into Six Nations and PRO14, we’re not all starting out trying to maximize our chances.
Much of the narrative in Welsh rugby revolves around infighting, brawls, and arguments. I think it has been overreported. These are the stories that tend to focus in the press.
We need to talk about how we’re going to move the game forward and what our strategy and vision are.
We need to talk about success on and off the court, as opposed to arm wrestling in the boardroom.
The only way to move forward from that is to fix it because if you fix it people can’t talk about it.
This means having a multi-year plan that enables all levels of the game to thrive.
Q: Amidst the constant uncertainty, roughly what are you looking for in terms of your playing budget for next season?
A: We are not far from £8 million.
If it’s £8.5m, if we can get two marquee players who will be with us all season, we feel we can compete.
It’s not just about the possibility of getting more money or where we can get more money from, but about the efficiencies, because the truth is that you will never get enough money.
We have to be more disciplined with the release of the player.
It’s possible that other countries can do a better job of that as players come back and be available for their clubs if they don’t play for the national team.
There is also an opportunity for the four regions to work better together to formalize the transfer market, so instead of poaching players from each other, we can have upfront talks about transfers of talent and loan players.
Q: In the current situation, is there any scope for recruiting more players for next season?
A: We announced WillGriff John in the prop and Thomas Lisanna in the back row.
When someone leaves a Jake Ball stature, you need to try to do something about it if you can.
We would also like to have someone in the back line who can bring us a point of difference, sort of 13/14 with a bit of strength.
Q: What are your thoughts on PRO16, with the four teams from South Africa joining?
A: The feedback I get from season ticket holders is that they are looking forward to those matches.
The English and the French look at it and say ‘that’s very impressive, we absolutely love it’.
Our mission is to develop the league we are in as best we can, and this is the most powerful step forward we can take right now.
Q: How do you see the structure of the upcoming season as a whole?
A: We’re looking at 18 regular season games in PRO16, and while it looks like Europe will play over eight or nine weekends, my guess would be nine.
We still have those extra weeks of release in Wales and an international fall fourth, which I understand economically, but as we try to improve the league, that overlap is far from ideal.
With fewer league matches, we will have Wales players available for a greater proportion of matches, which is a step in the right direction.
Of the 18 weekends in PRO16, two will probably clash with either the Welsh or International camps, which isn’t too bad, although those two matches could make the difference between third, fourth, fifth or sixth on the ladder.
Q: What are your thoughts on BBC Wales returning as broadcasters for PRO16?
A: I am definitely a fan of free streaming. When the sport is going through a stage of growth, as rugby is about to do, you want access to content everywhere.
If you go behind the pay wall exclusively, you almost put the demographics in a refrigerated room. So the combination is very important.
In Wales we are not the richest part of the world so it aligns well with our values of enabling people to watch games on free streaming channels.
I totally respect the economics of that, but we can’t forget the fan base and I think it’s a positive step forward.
Q: Finally, is there a chance the Scarlets will host the All Blacks next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 9-3 game?
A: That would be cool, wouldn’t it? October 31, 2022. You can hardly make it up
We would like to do that. We’ve had active conversations but no one’s calendars have been set much earlier yet.
We’ll keep working on it and if we can confirm it, it would be great news to have it published.
If we can make it happen, there are many things we’d like to stick around for as part of a very special season for us.