June International Tours

Wales resolve regions player release row

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The Welsh Rugby Union has resolved the row over the release of players for the national team after increasing the money it gives the country’s four rugby regions by two thirds.


The WRU said Tuesday it had negotiated a five-year agreement with Regional Rugby Wales, which represents the Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Scarlets and Ospreys club sides, to secure the participation of players in national team games outside the international test window.


The WRU and RRW had been set for a hearing at the High Court this week to determine whether the union was entitled to pick players from the regions for the Nov. 7 match against New Zealand.


The bodies were embroiled in a similar standoff last year.


The new agreement allows Wales to play as many as 13 internationals a year and another two non-international tour games.


The regions, which will now each receive 6 million pounds ($9.9 million) per year rather than 3.6 million pounds, will have to release players 13 days before each tournament.


“This agreement is a historic landmark for Welsh rugby and will help shape the future of our national game,” WRU chief executive Roger Lewis said in a statement.

 

“At its heart, it gives the regions the financial security to carry out a mandate to recruit and develop Welsh international players.

“We have achieved an agreement which is rooted in the best interests of the whole of Welsh rugby because a winning Wales will deliver the support and commercial success we need to sustain rugby at all levels across our nation.”


The agreement also states that every regional match squad should contain at least 17 Welsh qualified players, increasing to 19 in five years, and that all international training will take place at the WRU Centre of Excellence.

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