Wales Six Nations game against England to go ahead after last ditch talks
Wales’ Six Nations match against England in Cardiff on Saturday will go ahead after potential strike action from Welsh players over a contract dispute was averted, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.
Players had gathered at Wales’ training base in the Vale of Glamorgan to discuss a range of issues with Professional Rugby Board members, with many of them out of contract at their regional teams at the end of this season.
The threat of players taking Six Nations strike action occurred as a result of a new six-year financial agreement between the Welsh Rugby Union and its four regions not being confirmed and no playing budgets finalised.
But acting WRU chief executive Nigel Walker said: “I’m pleased to announce that after extensive conversations and discussions over the last week the Wales-England game will go ahead as scheduled.
“It’s important going forward that we continue the dialogue over the last week or so, but not under the circumstances we’ve had over the last week or so.
“Ken and I and some of the senior players will be meeting more regularly than perhaps we have in the past.”
Owens said: “We are obviously happy. There has been huge frustration over the last number of months that it got to this stage. We felt we had to make a stand, but the conversations that have taken place over the last 10 days or so have shown that some positive resolutions can be found.
“The players are satisfied, hence why the game is on on Saturday. It has been very tough, hugely frustrating. It has been a difficult period, but we have fronted up in training and prepared as we would for any Test match and we are looking forward to getting out there and going toe-to-toe with England.
“Of course it has been a distraction with everything that has been going on, but I have got to commend the players’ professionalism in this.
“When we have crossed that white line at training, we’ve done our work as professional players. We are really ready for Saturday.”
Wales players had called for the contentious minimum 60-cap Test selection rule for players plying their trade outside the country to be scrapped.
The players had also wanted a voice at Professional Rugby Board meetings and a review of proposed fixed variable contracts that see only 80 per cent of salary guaranteed, with the remaining 20 per comprising bonus-related payments.
Walker said: “Gareth Lewis, chief executive of the WRPA (Welsh Rugby Players Association), attended his first PRB meeting earlier today. He’s got a standing invite and he will be invited to the Rugby Management Board.
“With regards to the 60-cap rule that rule is still there. But the number of caps has been reduced to 25.”
On the issue of pay, Walker added: “Going forward we’ll have a hybrid model where there’ll be the fixed and variable.
“But there will also be a solely fixed model and the agent, player and the region can choose which one they want to have discussions about.”
Owens called for a long-term fix to the issues that have plagued Welsh rugby.
“It’s got to be a long-term solution because Welsh rugby can’t keep going on this merry-go-round of crisis after crisis because it’s affecting everybody in the game – players, supporters, administrators, grass roots clubs,” he said.
“With the events of the last six to eight weeks everybody in Welsh rugby needs to pull together now to find the best way forward.
“We need to do it collaboratively to put Welsh rugby back at the top of world rugby, and not the laughing stock which I think we are at the moment.”
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Cowards! Sums up everything about being from Wales in 20th and 21st century. Yet another hiding on its way. England by 25+
England haven’t exactly been on great form either.
Indeed, but they’ll show some passion, unlike our lot of cry babies. Do you not realise how they’ve made themselves look? You shouldn’t threaten anything unless you are willing to follow through on it.
the players are profesionals with mortgages and familes to think of. let alone having to play a dangerous high level game. It’s the wru who are the cowards as well as inept amateurs.time for a clear out at the wru,it’s long overdue.
Both can be cowardly, for very different reasons. But it was the players who were threatening action. So they are the true cowards! If it was truly as bad as made out, this game wouldn’t be going ahead. It seems they are passionless, Spineless Cowards who were all talk.
I’m afraid that you are talking out of your bottom old chap.
And that’s your opinion, something you’re entitled to. But thankfully that’s not Law. The Welsh are the laughing stock of these isles and actions like this, and your response to it are why we are seen as such! They have no spine, no level of attachments to their nation or history, call themselves foreign. Wales IS THE BUTT of the Joke!
are you english by any chance?
No, Born and Bred in Cardiff, but I did spend two of my 30 odd years of my life in England. I just don’t like how the Cymro are constantly taking a backward step over everything.
There’s still a residual nasty reactionary element in Welsh rugby circles who hark back to “how things used to be” amateur players doing as they were told craving approval from the blazeratti and the shouty hangers on. Some of these people deliberately ignore the impact of global professionalisation of the game. Locally held values of deference and obedience are pretty useless when you strive to compete with the best in Europe and the best of the world. Team work is about mutual respect, not a master servant relationship. Yet our WRU still lives in that old fashioned way of doing… Read more »