Off the field things are if anything even more dire. PriceWaterhouseCoopers produced a report on regional rugby last year, and if the BBC's summary of its contents is anything to go by, regional rugby is facing a grim future indeed.
Here are a few of the report's findings just for starters:
- The regions are not financially sustainable in their current form without continued support from benefactors or alternative funding sources.
- The collective funding gap has been rising.
- The economic downturn and growing disillusionment have meant that most, and in some cases all, of the support provided by wealthy benefactors is drying up.
- Poor management and poor decision making, partly because of the over-riding influence of the benefactors.
- Lack of oversight of finances and, in some cases, lack of an up to date business plan.
- Signing expensive overseas players.
- Significant additional costs incurred by the lure of participating in the Heineken Cup.
The report also diplomatically described the Welsh clubs' targets as "ambitious" when set against past performance.
Not included in the PWC report's deliberations, it seems, was the effect which the growing success and popularity of Welsh football is having on regional rugby match attendances, something discussed on the BBC's Sport Wales the other week. Tickets to watch Swansea City are like gold dust, and attendances in Swansea and Cardiff are running at more than three times what the regional rugby clubs can pull in.
The response of the WRU and the rugby regions to all of this has been to set up a new board which will meet once a month to try to turn the Titanic round.
In Carmarthenshire it's not just club supporters who have reason to feel depressed. As we wait to find out how much extra we will have to pay in council tax this year, the County Council's financial support for the Scarlets is beginning to stand out more and more like a sore thumb as jobs are cut and services slashed.
It is well nigh impossible to work out how much all of the overt and covert subsidies to the club add up to. Just about every council event, no matter how small, is likely to find itself taking place at Parc y Scarlets, with stretched departmental budgets being raided to pay for hospitality in Llanelli. Even the annual "Welsh Learner of the Year" event (maximum of about 30 attendees) was held at the stadium last year at a time when the council was cutting back on classes.
The question of whether all these subsidies are legal under EU Competition Law appears to be a very touchy subject in County Hall.
The Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, Mark James, told councillors that legal advice on state-funded aid to the Scarlets was contained in the huge bundle of documents they were given back in 2007, but a Freedom of Information request recently made by Cllr Siân Caiach for disclosure of the legal advice was refused under the cloak of legal privilege.
Cllr Caiach wonders why, if the advice provided by an external firm of lawyers showed that everything was in order, would there be any need to conceal it from elected councillors. Could it be that the advice highlighted concerns which the council's officers have not dealt with?
Not unnaturally, Cllr Caiach also wonders whether councillors were ever actually provided with the external legal advice given the authority's refusal to disclose it now.
Sometimes it doesn't just rain, it pours.