THE Welsh Rugby Union is to secure a loan because of the "extreme" financial hit of the coronavirus crisis with the majority going to help the four professional regions, writes Chris Kirwan.

Chief executive Martyn Phillips has revealed that the governing body are in talks over borrowing funds after being hit hard by the pandemic.

The size of the potential loan has not been disclosed but Phillips believes it is the only way to reduce the damage to Welsh rugby.

"Given the financial shock of this pandemic the only solution is to increase our borrowing," wrote chief executive Martyn Phillips in the WRU's weekly update.

"We are in discussions with a range of institutions to assess our options. We are working hard to secure a loan and, importantly, on terms that allows for repayment over a number of years.

"So, whilst the current financial hit is extreme and focused, we will look to smooth and dampen its ongoing impact through a manageable repayment profile and interest rate."

Free Press Series:

The governing body's £11.8million funding for the community game is ringfenced so it will be the Dragons, who are currently owned by the WRU, Cardiff Blues, Scarlets and Ospreys that will benefit from the loan.

"Much of the loan will be onward lent, to Welsh rugby's four professional regions. Again, this is only right, as the international and professional game is the financial powerhouse of Welsh rugby," said Phillips.

"Without it we would have little income or funding to re-invest. The professional game will bear the responsibility for servicing the loan, but will also benefit from any bounce back of any financial revenue over performance in future years.

"In that regard, the professional game bears both the risk and the reward. Our goal, like with our semi-professional and community clubs, is to ensure all four regions survive this crisis."

Phillips says talks are continuing about further wage cuts for players after they agreed to a three-month reduction of 25 per cent in April.

"We are now in further discussion, the first step of which is a responsibility of the PRB (Professional Rugby Board) to, as transparently as possible, set out the financial situation and then work together with the players to find options that both safeguard the game and also deliver to the players’ personal situations," said Phillips, who revealed WRU salary cuts have been extended to the end of September.

"There is a requirement for continued dialogue over the next few weeks to explore options and land on a way forward that works for all parties. I’m sure we can achieve this together."