Six Nations 2023: Cardiff’s Wales vs. England match’s deadline approaches
The deadline of February 22 set by Welsh athletes to decide if Wales’ Six Nations match versus England will take place has passed.
Wales players have threatened not to play in Saturday’s match because of an ongoing contract dispute with Welsh rugby executives.
Despite delaying the announcement of his selection, Wales head coach Warren Gatland had expressed optimism that the issue would be resolved on Tuesday.
A solution has not yet been found.
This pushes the subject past the Wednesday deadline set by the Welsh players for a resolution.
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In addition to revealing that a training session had been postponed on Tuesday afternoon so that players could continue talks, Gatland also claimed that the threat made by the national team to boycott the match against England was sincere.
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The Professional Rugby Board (PRB), which oversees the professional game in Wales and is made up of representatives from the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the four regions of Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys, and Scarlets, will now meet with the players on Wednesday.
The PRB held a morning meeting and will speak with Wales’ professional athletes in the late afternoon.
Before they agree to take the field at Principality Stadium for a game that will likely bring in close to £10 million for Welsh rugby, the players want three issues fixed.
They’re looking for:
representation from the Wales Rugby Players Association (WRPA) at PRB meetings
the repeal of Wales’ 60-cap selection criterion, which prohibits selection of players working outside the nation unless they have at least that many Test appearances
the abolition of Welsh rugby executives’ requirements that players accept 80% of fixed salaries with 20% available as bonuses
Malcolm Wall, the chair of the PRB, stated that the 60-cap limit is being reviewed, and it is rumored that they are thinking about reducing it to between 25 and 40 caps.
Wall, however, asserted that his company was determined to move on with the fixed/variable contracts, which guarantee players only 80% of salaries.
Wall added that a formal post on the board will need to be established and that the PRB will invite the WRPA to be represented at meetings.
Gatland claims his team will be prepared to play if the game drags on, despite not knowing the extent of the problem when he made the decision to return to Wales following the resignation of his predecessor Wayne Pivac in December 2022.
I don’t think a player playing against England will be lacking in motivation, he remarked.
They will be entirely focused on the game if the issues are rectified.