THE Welsh Rugby Union and four regions are aiming to put pen to paper on a new Rugby Services Agreement this year that "reinvents" professional rugby.

The governing body and the Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues agreed a six-year, £60million deal in August, 2014.

That agreement was made in tumultuous times when the WRU was at war with the regions, with the governing body's current chairman Gareth Davies at the heart of the matter when he was the Dragons chief executive.

However, WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips, who took over from Roger Lewis in 2015, believes the process has been easier this time.

With the governing body now owning the Dragons, the details over a fresh accord are being thrashed out with the Gwent side and their three rivals to the west.

"We are working with all four regions and the Dragons don't get treated any differently, we won't wait until 2020 for the RSA to be redone," said Phillips.

"We are right in the guts of that now to see how we reset professional rugby across all four with Wales, we are very interdependent and building a good plan amongst ourselves.

"I think there were [some initial concerns about the WRU getting involved with the Dragons] but if we went back to why we did it in the first place, it was around Gwent having a professional team but also having four professional entities.

"It's almost impossible to run international teams with only three, so somehow or another we have to make four work.

"We are all working incredibly closely and you haven't heard any noise in the past year. We all recognise that we need to reinvent professional rugby and that's what we are trying to do.

"We want to get the RSA done this year. It's tough to put a date on it but every single week we are working through with the regions and looking at the entire model.

"We want to be very Welsh-centric right through the pathways, the quality of coaching, academies, the competitions with the regional under-23s.

"We are leaving no stone unturned to get the system right for pro rugby and then on the other side how we can make club rugby as strong as we can."

In 2014 the quartet were counting down to a deadline for when their Union funding would end and the same, theoretically, applies in 2020. However, Phillips wants to avoid a repeat of that scenario.

"I'm not a huge fan of what I would call a cliff edge contract where you are here one day, gone the next," he said.

"I'd like to see something more evolving than that because it becomes very hard to plan. If you are in a region now and someone is saying that they can turn your finances off on June 30, 2020 then you can't even really contract players beyond that date.

"Players wouldn't join if they knew there was a cliff edge. It'd like to think we will move to something that iterates and evolves every year."

The WRU made the decision to take ownership of the Dragons last year, completing the deal after Newport RFC shareholders agreed to sell them their historic Rodney Parade home.

The governing body, who have a pair of representatives on the Dragons' board in Ian Jeffery and finance director Steve Phillips, swiftly spent £750,000 on laying a hybrid surface.

Chairman David Buttress has previously stressed the importance of developing the northern end of Rodney Parade in order to provide long-term revenue streams and Phillips believes the Dragons are in reasonable financial shape.

"It's about where we thought," said Phillips. "A couple of things cost us more than we hoped around the facilities and some of the squad stuff, but it's within the tolerances and our due diligence was pretty good.

"When our (financial) results come out in July/August, and obviously it will be a sub-set of the WRU results, there will be nothing in there that is overly concerning us, although the whole professional game is a challenge financially.

"There is nothing going on in the Dragons that isn't going on elsewhere at most other rugby entities, so I think professional rugby still needs a bit of a reset about how it can be sustainable, but we are looking at that across the whole of Wales rather than just at the Dragons."