Gatland delays naming Wales team amid strike fears
NEWS: Wales coach Warren Gatland has delayed naming his team for Saturday’s strike-threatened Six Nations clash against England in Cardiff, a Welsh Rugby Union spokeswoman told AFP on Tuesday.
Gatland had been scheduled to announced his matchday 23 at 12.00 GMT on Tuesday, although the New Zealander is still set to give a planned news conference later in the day.
Strike action is a possibility due to ongoing uncertainty caused by Welsh rugby’s professional contracts freeze.
Last week, the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA) said the delay was causing “unacceptable strain on mental health and overall wellbeing”.
A new financial agreement between the four Welsh regions – Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets – and the Welsh Rugby Union has still to be confirmed in writing.
That has sparked concern that a sizeable number of players whose contracts expire at the end of this season will leave Wales due to uncertainty over their futures.
Talks on a new six-year financial agreement between Wales’ Professional Rugby Board and the players are due to take place on Wednesday.
The players want Wales’ minimum 60-cap selection rule for players at clubs outside the country scrapped, a voice at PRB meetings and a review of proposed fixed-variable contracts.
Those contracts would guarantee a player only 80 percent of their salary, with the remaining 20 percent comprising bonuses.
Wales have lost their opening two games of the Six Nations for the first time in 16 years, with defeat by Ireland followed by a record 35-7 loss to Scotland in Edinburgh.