ANOTHER twist in the Welsh domestic rugby shake-up was confirmed as Scarlets now state their merger with Ospreys is “off the table”.

The Pro14 club broke their silence on the hot topic on Wednesday, March 6, which corroborated the Professional Rugby Board’s statement that “Heads of Terms” had been agreed ahead of the merger, which would make way for a new northern rugby region.

During a meeting between power-brokers on Tuesday, the Ospreys went back on their initial decision to go ahead with the merger and also saw chairman Mike James resign due to the “catastrophic mismanagement” of the situation.

A Scarlets statement, read: “Firstly, we can confirm the statement issued by the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) on Tuesday afternoon as accurate, as are the comments made by Wales’ national coach that the proposed merger was driven by the regions, in consultation with the PRB.

“In late December, the Scarlets received a high-level approach from the Ospreys to explore the option of a merger as they had come to the conclusion that their position as tenants at the Liberty Stadium was proving to be challenging.

“This was discussed at the two-day strategy meeting of PRB on January 8 and 9. The loss of a region would have put Welsh rugby in breach of its commitment to having four regions playing in the major competitions. As a result, the option of a team playing out of North Wales was raised.

“By the time of the next PRB meeting on February 5, discussions had broken down between the Scarlets and Ospreys and we were told that the Ospreys and another region were in talks over a possible merger, again with North Wales being the option to maintain four teams.

“Subsequently, those discussions also broke down and we were approached again last week by the Ospreys to reconsider a merger.

“Heads of terms were agreed and signed by the Ospreys and Scarlets on March 1 on terms we believe our supporters would be happy with. This was to be proposed at a meeting of the PRB on Tuesday afternoon, but we were told at the start of that meeting that the Ospreys had changed their mind.

“The merger is off the table.”