Dai Young praises Cardiff players for putting the action before contract issue
Cardiff boss Dai Young hailed his players after they delivered a bonus-point victory over United Rugby Championship opponents Benetton against the backdrop of Welsh rugby’s professional contracts freeze.
With Welsh rugby currently dominated by the possibility of a players’ strike over the contracts situation, there was an air of relief among the Arms Park crowd to see competitive action taking centre-stage.
Next Saturday’s Six Nations clash between Wales and England – to be played next door at the Principality Stadium – could be in doubt with a long-term agreement between the four professional regions and Welsh Rugby Union still to be signed off.
Players out of contact at the end of this season – believed to number between 70 and 100 in Wales – cannot be offered new deals in writing until agreement is reached.
It has been a demanding period for players at all four Welsh regions – Cardiff, Ospreys, Dragons and Scarlets – and their families.
“The players have been outstanding in training,” rugby director Young said, following a 30-13 success.
“I think everyone knows it is bubbling on in the background, and a lot of players have spoken about the anxiety it brings them, but their focus in training has been excellent.
“They have not brought it out on to the training paddock. They have been excellent.
“I am really pleased they went and put a performance in. It was nice to see them coming in with smiles on their faces.”
The threat of Wales players striking currently hangs over the England game, and talks are continuing in pursuit of a swift conclusion.
Young added: “Everybody wants the situation resolved sooner, rather than later.
“It is a shame it has got to this position. We just want to get back to Welsh rugby making big strides forwards, not talking about things that are dragging us down.
“We all know what is going on, and we all know the anxiety and frustration with all the events that are going on.”
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