Compromise reached

Wales to face England as Six Nations strike averted

Ken Owens (DB)
Satisfied: Wales skipper Ken Owens

Wales’ Six Nations meeting with England will go ahead as scheduled this weekend after the threat of strike action was lifted.

The Cardiff clash had been plunged into doubt after the Welsh players threatened to down tools over a contracts dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

However, following a meeting of around 100 players from both the national team and regional clubs with Professional Rugby Board members, a compromise was reached to allow Saturday’s match to take place – saving the WRU a near £10m hit.

Wales captain Ken 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.”

The threat materialised as a result of a long-term financial deal between the WRU and its four regions – Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets – not being confirmed and no playing budgets finalised, with proposals for reduced contracts and fixed-variable pay bands.

Among key issues resolved, there was an agreement to amend a rule stopping players who had left the country and not won 60 caps from playing for Wales again. Players based outside Wales can now represent their country if they have won 25 caps or more.

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