Welsh rugby players call off threat to boycott Six Nations game against England

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Welsh rugby union chiefs have hailed a deal which will allow Saturday’s Six Nations rugby union clash between Wales and England to take place.

Welsh players had threatened to boycott the prestigious fixture in a dispute over contracts and when players could be considered for the Wales team.

But the breakthrough came following crunch talks between players as well as executives from the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) – which runs the professional game in Wales – and the Wales Rugby Union (WRU) – which oversees the national squads. 

Nigel Walker, the WRU’s acting chief executive said: “The PRB has been agile and receptive to the players’ requests and the players have, equally, been responsible and reasonable in their dealings with the PRB which is a credit to all parties.

Game on

“The game is on and, whilst there is still some detail to discuss and some fine tuning to be done in our negotiations at the PRB, this is undoubtedly been a linchpin moment from which we can build.”

PRB bosses agreed to lift the freeze on new contracts.

And there was a change to the 60-cap rule – whereby only players who had passed that threshold could move to clubs outside Wales and still be considered for the national team. Players will be able to go to foreign clubs after making 25 appearances.

Players will now also have the option of taking a fixed salary contract or one for a lower set wage but which could climb higher based on performance bonuses.

The PRB had previously stated that all contracts would have 80 percent set wages and a variable amount of 20 percentbased on performance.

The Welsh Rugby Players Association will also be allowed to sit in at PRB meetings.


“We have listened to our players and have been able to resolve the three issues presented, quickly and efficiently,” PRB chair Malcolm Wall said.

“The six-year framework we have agreed has always had the players’ best interests at heart and we have been happy to allay their understandable concerns with the adjustments described.”

Wales captain Ken Owens said he was relieved that a settlement had been agreed before the game at Principality Stadium

“Everybody in Welsh rugby really needs to pull together now to find the best way forward,” said the 36-year-old who has featured 88 times for his country.

“And we need to do it collaboratively to put Welsh rugby back at the top end of world rugby and not the laughing stock which I think we are at the moment,” he added.

Wales have lost their first two games in the 2023 Six Nations tournament.

On the opening day, Ireland thrashed them 34-10 in Cardiff and Scotland annihilated them 35-7 a week later in Edinburgh.

A rousing performance and victory against England would provide a platform for the games in Italy on 11 March and in France on 18 March.

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