Bernard Jackman believes recent events in Welsh rugby are hugely damaging to the game and the plan to fund the regions correctly needs be given long-term thought.

The Scarlets and Ospreys were expected to join forces under a mooted Project Reset, together with a new professional team being formed in north Wales, alongside existing Welsh regions Cardiff Blues and the Dragons, in Welsh rugby's biggest domestic shake-up since the inception of regional sides 16 years ago. 

However, today it has been revealed that any planned merger is "off the table" after a backlash, although it seems likely to be revisited in some form in the future.

Speaking to 2fm’s Game On, Jackman, a former head coach of the Dragons, said he feels sympathy for those that love the game in the country, especially those on the pitch.

"I just feel really sorry for the people involved, that’s players, fans, coaches. It doesn’t really paint rugby in a good light. It is very worrying for the players. A lot of players haven’t been able to negotiate contracts because nobody is sure how the Welsh rugby landscape will look next year.

"This debate isn’t for three years time. It’s for a team starting in September [which seems rushed]. The big issue is the damage to the game. People see how fickle and poorly funded the game is and how much pressure they are under.

"I would say the Welsh regions needs more money, not less, to be competitive and make the best possible environment for their players. It is worrying.

"Warren Gatland is doing a phenomenal job keeping the national team successful when underneath it there is so little clarity and security.

"To be honest it’s not just the Ospreys.

"If they amalgamate there is obviously going to be 35 more players on the market. The market will be flooded. And it’s too late for them to pack up and go to England.

"There’s no point saying now we’re going to stick with the Ospreys next year but just the push it down the road. They need to decide how they want to fund the regional game and how it is going to look in 20 years time, never mind next year."

We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Wales are flying high in the international scene as Jackman points out, with Gatland looking to land the Six Nations title, before eyeing World Cup success, all the while, the clubs are in turmoil.

The RTÉ Rugby analyst would like to see the issue addressed in terms of future sustainability and success.

He said: "It was ironic this week when Warren Gatland named his team. They brought forward the team announcement to try to dampen the talk about Project Reset and back onto rugby. And then there was more Ospreys in the 23-man squad than any other region.

"They are still a team that are very important providers for the Welsh national team. The only reason their form has dropped is because their budget has dropped. Realistically when they were winning Pro 12s and could go toe-to-toe with anyone in Europe, they were teams Leinster and Toulouse would have feared.

"The budget has dropped, they say around £6.5 millions, and the performances have dropped. I still believe they [have something to offer] because they have a great stadium, done a huge amount in the region.

"They did build a fanbase, probably more than anybody else, and it’s sad to see there is a chance they could go into extinction. They haven’t accepted the merger though. But it has all played out  in the media with no clarity of what is going to happen.

"Project Reset was about making the game sustainable but unfortunately Welsh rugby isn’t placed in isolation. They are in competition with Irish, Scots, Italians, while English and French clubs can take players too.

"You can’t just say we don’t have the resources and we’re not going to have ambition. Wales has an unbelievably proud rugby history. A decision made in haste will have a lasting effect. This has to be a long-term plan."