Professional Rugby Board (PRB) chairman Malcolm Wall has apologized to the Welsh players for the “real stress and discomfort” caused by the deadlock in their contract dispute as the threat of a strike looms over the Saturday’s Six Nations clash with England.
Preparations for the match have been overshadowed by tension between the PRB and the Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA) over proposed pay cuts for the 2024-25 season, with Wales head coach Warren Gatland saying that he supports his players but not the strike. action.
A new six-year deal, which Wall says is worth $606 million, for local teams Cardiff Rugby, Scarlets, Dragons and Ospreys has been agreed in principle but has yet to be signed in writing. There are concerns about job losses, pay cuts and player welfare.
“I apologize unreservedly on behalf of the PRB for the stress and discomfort obviously felt by the players,” Wall told the BBC.
“I am really upset and I feel very personally that I have not done what I should have done as PRB president to get to the place with the long-form deal and remove the uncertainty.”
Wall said WRPA chief executive Gareth Lewis has been invited to be an “observer and contributor” to the PRB, which is meeting on Wednesday.
“We are making arrangements with the WRPA this week to hold a town hall style meeting with the players to better explain the reasoning.”