The recent announcement by Cardiff Blues that they were simply going to be known as Cardiff Rugby seems to have led to the Dragons thinking about a similar rebrand.

For many fans this will look like that we are moving towards the end of regional rugby in Wales and towards a small group of super clubs.

Welsh rugby up until the establishment of the regions was club-based and passionate. Grounds like Sardis Road and the Gnoll generated incredible atmospheres and good crowds. My own hometown team of Bridgend were good enough to take on the All Blacks and beat the Wallabies.

I feel sorry for the current generation of supporters who won’t have experienced Cardiff-Pontypool on a Wednesday night before 17,000 people or a packed-out Stradey Park for Llanelli-Swansea, let alone the near-60,000 crowds that Llanelli-Neath Schweppes Cup Finals drew.

In 1995, the game went professional and we had to face the reality that we couldn’t sustain more than four or five fully professional teams.

The answer was the creation of the regions that would play games at a number of venues within their region. That promise has long been forgotten, with the exception of the Ospreys.

Cardiff Rugby no longer pretends to be a region and there will be many in the central valleys who will feel that the past 20 years have seen them robbed of their rugby identities.

The same will be true of the eastern valleys if the Dragons simply become “Newport”. It’s true to say the teams of old still exist, mainly in the Welsh Premiership, but that competition has steadily been stripped of much of its meaning, the last straw being the withdrawal from the British-Irish Cup.

There is now nothing for Premiership clubs to aspire to outside their own league.

The regions haven’t been a great success. They’ve struggled to inspire fans and they haven’t been particularly successful on the pitch.

No Welsh region has won the European Cup. We don’t have a regional tradition like Ireland or Scotland. Munster is an ancient province; Ospreylia is not.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that we can go backwards to the way things were, but there’s a real question as to how rugby is structured in Wales

I have no problem with having four fully professional clubs in what was the Pro14, now the United Rugby Championship (URC). By all means call them Llanelli, Swansea, Cardiff and Newport.

What I object to is these clubs being part of a closed shop that nobody else can join. Why should Cardiff have a permanent position in the URC but not Pontypridd? Why should Llanelli but not Bridgend?

In order to give the Welsh Premiership some momentum there should be a chance for one of its clubs to displace the established four in the URC.

If a Premiership club can meet the criteria for facilities that the URC requires then why shouldn’t they be able to compete for a place?

If they do so then why shouldn’t the bottom-placed club in the URC play off against the Premiership champions?

It would lift the ceiling off the Premiership and add a competitive element to the end of the season. It would also break what looks like a cartel.

There is of course a big gap in standards between the URC and the Premiership, and it would be very hard for any club to break through. Hard, but not impossible.

What the Premiership lacks at the moment is the ability to attract substantial investment from businesses or individuals, but if there was the prospect of a URC place on offer, I suspect we would see that investment coming into some clubs.

It would need a lot of money to upgrade grounds and keep full-time playing staff but if a club can attract the money to do just that then why shouldn’t they be given a chance.

Just look at England. Certain clubs like Bristol, Worcester and Exeter have managed to get into, and remain in, the English Premiership.

If there was no promotion and relegation, money would leak out of the lower divisions because many investors wouldn’t see the point of investing in a club that can’t get to the highest level.

Wales doesn’t have the size for a lot of clubs to attract lots of money but there are some who could.

There is a great danger of disillusion amongst fans outside of the established four.

Many feared the regions were simply a ploy to remove top rugby from their communities and they will feel that’s exactly what’s happened.

Even the pretence of regional rugby is now being dropped, aggravating the situation further.

I don’t blame Cardiff for what they’ve done or the Dragons for what they might do. We’re a nation of clubs and they know that.

We can’t go back to the days of 15 first-class clubs or the days before the game went professional. What we can do though is introduce some more competition in Welsh rugby and then perhaps we’ll be able to recapture at least some of that hwyl that we seem to have lost and the fans who don’t watch the game anymore.

And all of those fans, from Neath to Pontypool and from Bridgend to Ebbw Vale might feel they their clubs have something to aim for again.