Rugby-Wales coach Gatland confident England game will go ahead

February 22, 2023 12:11 AM AEDT | By Reuters
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(Reuters) -Wales have delayed naming their team for the Six Nations fixture against England in Cardiff on Saturday, but coach Warren Gatland is confident he will have players to take to the field amid the threat of strike action this week.

Gatland was due to name his team on Tuesday, but held off with angry Welsh players to meet the Professional Rugby Board (PRB), which runs the game in the country, on Wednesday in a bid to end their impasse and ward off a possible strike.

"I think with the uncertainty that was happening, there’s a lot of meetings. I just wanted clarity for the boys with tomorrow then we come back (to train) on Thursday," Gatland told reporters.

Welsh players have been involved in a bitter feud with the PRB and want a review of a proposal that would see 80% of their wages guaranteed, with 20% via bonuses, and representation from the Welsh Rugby Players' Association on the PRB.

They are also seeking an end to the 60-cap rule that says only players who have reached that threshold can play for the national team if they move to a club abroad.

Gatland believes the two sides will come to an agreement and the game against England will be played in Cardiff, though he concedes there is no certainty that will be the case.

"I'm confident it'll go ahead," he said. "The players have probably had about half a dozen meetings in the last few days. It's been a bit of a challenge but sometimes that galvanises people.

"The players have been given assurances that things will be sorted out, but unfortunately they have not. It finally came to a head.

"I think it's a genuine threat (to strike), no doubt about that. But having spoken to a few people today, I'm fairly confident it will be resolved."

Whichever way it goes, it is a disruption Gatland does not need after his side went down in heavy defeats by Ireland (10-34) and Scotland (7-35) in their opening two Six Nations fixtures.

"In fairness to the players, they've trained well amongst it all. There's been things going on but in training they've applied themselves well," he said.

(Reporting by Nick SaidEditing by Christian Radnedge)


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