Rhys Williams: regions row 'might encourage players to move'
"The players that want to stay in Wales - this little bit of uncertainty might actually just give them the little push that they need to go and look at England or go and look at France" says former Wales international and Blues player Rhys Williams.
"Players will look at capitalising as much as they can on the short professional era that they've got"
The Scarlets have responded to the WRU's claims over George North's future.
The club says it has a policy of not being drawn into "individual discussions" about the contractual status of its players and staff.
The Scarlets are astonished and disappointed that the governing body of Welsh rugby has chosen to speak about an individual player from within our region publicly in this fashion.
We must therefore clarify, that at no time has the WRU made any proposal to us to help retain any player international or otherwise within our region.
Any contract discussions involving George North have only taken place within the last two months including the Scarlets offer of a three-year contract extension that was the very best offer that the club could make.
As is usual business practice, any contractual discussions regarding players take place with their agent or representatives responsible.
As the Scarlets have publicly stated, it has been our wish to retain George North within our Scarlets squad and the region has put forward a substantial offer to keep him in West Wales – an offer which still stands.
We also recognise, George is a player of immense talent and has many options available to him in his future playing career.
The four Welsh regions are united in expressing how staggered and bitterly disappointed they all are with the nature, intent and content of the public statement made by the WRU this morning on a number of issues affecting Welsh rugby.
As the governing body that should lead and set the standards and platform for the profile of the game in Wales, the regions are surprised at the WRU’s seemingly defensive reaction to some of the media reporting particularly given the success of yesterday’s Welsh derby double-header.
The group accuses the WRU of "delaying the process" of establishing a Professional Regional Game Board, stating that a Memorandum of Understanding had been agreed in November 2012.
There are a number of significant comments made within the WRU statement, that the four regions will now need to consider very seriously and with the appropriate amount of time and discussion before making a full and united response.
The four Welsh regions have been committed and open in providing full and detailed information for the PwC report and its recommendations and have been consistent in their aims to work in partnership for successful establishment of the PRGB.
Elsewhere in today's statement, the WRU accuses the regional clubs of not providing a "meaningful response" to its proposal for centrally contracting Welsh qualified regional players.
It also comments on player transfers.
The WRU accepts that some elite players will inevitably seek to leave Wales to achieve contractual incomes which are beyond the capacity of the current game in Wales.
The WRU funds the Regions to secure the release of those elite contracted players with an annual sum in excess of £6million. This £6 million is part of the £15 million distributed to the Regions annually by the WRU.
The WRU urges the Regions to abandon the practice of selling Welsh qualified senior players for profit before their contracts are concluded.
The WRU further urges all four Regions to inform other regions and the WRU, as a first priority, when they are seeking to sell or release any elite Welsh qualified player.