EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Wales fly half Dan Biggar leaves the field after the Six Nations Rugby match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium on February 11, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Wales Players Consider Strike After Delays And Wage Cuts As Dai Young Warns: Wearing The Shirt Is No Longer Enough

By David Williams

The upcoming Six Nations game between Wales and England could be in doubt as Welsh rugby players threaten to go on strike over contractual concerns.

Talks between the Welsh Rugby Union and the country’s four regions over a new budgetary deal have been ongoing, but nothing has been agreed upon yet, leaving players uncertain about their futures.

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

“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,” said a Wales Six Nations squad member, who also revealed that they are on antidepressants due to the stress of the situation.

“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.”

Cardiff and Wales centre Uilisi Halaholo also voiced his opinion on the matter on Twitter, saying: “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.”

Some players have already had enough and are considering leaving the Welsh game altogether, even though they have contracts.

“I’ve got a contract next year, but I’ve had enough. I want to get out now,” said a Wales squad member.

“I’ve never seen it this bad. All the uncertainty isn’t worth it just to play for Wales.” Another player 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 learned 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.”

Cardiff director of rugby Dai Young has warned Welsh rugby not to assume that players will automatically turn down interest from other countries to continue playing for Wales.

The regional game in Wales faces reduced budgets in the coming seasons and Young expects cross-border interest in Wales’ best players.

Young acknowledged the power of the Welsh jersey but said that Wales should not be arrogant and players’ decisions should be respected.

“You’d have to respect players’ decisions because we’ve all got families and mortgages to look after,” he said.

“I’m sure a lot of countries will be monitoring the situation in Wales over the next month or so and more than happy to take our best players.

“It’s no surprise our best players are of interest to other countries,” Young said.

Cardiff’s director of rugby confirmed that he has had no contact or conversations on the future of Cardiff full-back Liam Williams, who has been linked with an offer from Japanese rugby.

Several Wales squad members have been tipped to move away from the Welsh regions.

It has been estimated that 70 players in Wales will be out of contract in the summer but cannot be offered new terms until a top-level agreement is reached.

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