Six Nations: Wales’ clash with England in doubt as Warren Gatland’s players consider strike action – report

Wales’ players are threatening strike action against the Welsh Rugby Union due to contractual concerns, putting the Six Nations game with England next week in doubt.

According to the Daily Mail, professional players in Wales will meet soon, with striking an option that will be put on the table.

Talks have been ongoing between the governing body and the country’s four regions over a new budgetary deal but nothing has been agreed, leaving the players in limbo.

They have been unable to sign new contracts, something which has taken a significant toll on a number of individuals, including established internationals.

Players on antidepressants

“I can’t believe I’m five months away from the end of my contract and eight months away from the World Cup and my future isn’t certain yet,” a Wales Six Nations squad member told the Daily Mail.

“I can’t apply for a mortgage and I’m on antidepressants. I’m also one big injury away from not having a job in July yet I’m starting for Wales every week and the WRU is making tens of millions from international matches.”

Meanwhile, Cardiff and Wales centre Uilisi Halaholo posted on Twitter: “Must be nice knowing you can still provide for your kids in about four months.

“Especially when you get injured putting your body on the line for your club. Now you got less chance of trying to get a contract somewhere to provide for your family because of injury. Mental health is real. Stay strong.”

A prominent figure in the Welsh game told the Mail: “The uncertainty of not knowing if they have a job for next season is having a huge impact on all the players in Wales, not just the national squad.

“They have had enough. Everything is on the table, including possible strike action.

“I’ve never known it this bad. The WRU say they want to keep the country’s best players in Wales but they can’t under the budgets that are being discussed.”

Mass exodus

With a deal yet to be agreed between the regions and the WRU, it means that a mass exodus is a probability.

“I’ve got a contract next year but I’ve had enough. I want to get out now,” a Wales squad member told the Mail. “I’ve never seen it this bad. All the uncertainty isn’t worth it just to play for Wales.’

Another said: “I’m just glad I’m retiring in a few years. It’s a shambles – the lunatics are running the asylum.”

A Welsh Test player based in England added: “I never want to come back and play in Wales. I’ve learnt so much where I am. I’m valued and I’m really enjoying my rugby. I feel so sorry for the boys in the Wales camp. They are constantly stressed discussing the contracting problem.

“The WRU has blood on its hands if any of the boys get injured. They are saying the regions are too scared to say anything as the WRU might stop their payments and rip this deal up.

“It’s the worst they’ve ever known it.”

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Author: editor

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