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WRU: Competitions uncertainty 'close to resolution'

The Welsh Rugby Union's chief executive says the uncertainty over competitions for next season is "close to resolution".

Roger Lewis has told ITV News a meeting is to be held tomorrow with colleagues from France, Ireland and England to "thrash out" details of a new European competition.

"Qualification through Europe will be through the Pro12. So the two competitions - the Pro12 and a European Cup competition - looks close to resolution," he added.

The subject has been one element of an ongoing dispute between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four regional teams, with additional concerns over funding and player control.


Regions slam WRU Warburton contract when future still unclear

Sam Warburton signed a WRU national contract last week Credit: PA Images

Regional Rugby Wales has released a statement on behalf of the four Welsh regions criticising the WRU after Sam Warburton signed a national contract with them.

The central contract means Sam will continue playing for the Cardiff Blues, but he'll be released from domestic duties for Wales games at no cost to the region.

The WRU described the agreement as a triumph in the interests of all Welsh rugby.

In a statement, RRW said:

"Firstly, it is important for the Welsh Regions to stress that they have the utmost respect for Sam Warburton as a player, a leader, a young man of great integrity and as an important role model for every young rugby player inside and outside Wales.

"At the same time, the Regions respect and support the right of Sam or any individual to make their own decision for their future based on their understanding of the choices available to them at any one time.

"The introduction of one individual national contract at this particular time, however, leaves the Regions bemused and they would question the strategy behind the bizarre action by the WRU given that a final agreement on the future of Welsh Rugby has yet to be reached.

"The Regions would ask what kind of message this sends out about Welsh Rugby to our colleagues in the game across the world.

"The Regions would also question how one national contract works as a constructive and sustainable strategy for the whole of Welsh rugby given that we have some 200 professional players in Wales contracted to the Regions.

"The Regions are concerned about the impact of this action, the confusion it creates within Welsh Rugby at this time and how it may unsettle the balance of strong and close-knit team environments at the Regions."

Read the full statement here.

Warburton's Agent: 'no cast iron guarantees that Sam will be able to play for Cardiff Blues next season'

Wales Captain Sam Warburton's agent has said that because of the current fallout between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions, "there are no cast iron guarantees that Sam will be able to play for Cardiff Blues next season."

Derwyn Jones says Warburton intends to play for the Blues next season should all the issues be resolved.

The warning comes after Warburton signed a WRU National Contract yesterday.

The WRU have said that Warburton will be released for Cardiff Blues games outside his Wales duties.

Warburton 'delighted' to commit future to Welsh rugby

Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton has described his delight after securing his future in the domestic game in Wales. He's signed a Welsh Rugby Union National Contract, which means he will continue to play for the Cardiff Blues outside his Wales duties.

Under the arrangement his salary will be paid b the WRU and he should be released free of charge for Blues games. Warburton is the first senior player to sign such a contract:

I am delighted to commit my future to Welsh rugby. I would like to thank the WRU for its commitment to me."

– Sam Warburton, Wales captain

The announcement comes just days after Warburton's teammate Leigh Halfpenny left the Blues in favour of joining Toulon.


Sam Warburton signs WRU National Contract

Sam Warburton signs contract Credit: WRU

Wales captain Sam Warburton has signed a Welsh Rugby Union National Contract. The plan is for him to continue playing for the Cardiff Blues, but that he will be released from domestic duties for Wales games at no cost to the Region.

The WRU have described the agreement as a triumph in the interests of all Welsh rugby.

More to follow.

Regions row continues ahead of Six Nations launch

Tomorrow sees the launch of this year's Six Nations Rugby competition, but not for the first time in the Welsh game, off-field politics is overshadowing affairs on the pitch.

The Welsh Rugby Union remains locked in dispute with the four regional teams over funding, player control and competitions.

The regions have said that unless they can reach agreement with the union by this end of the month, they'll consider joining new tournaments without the WRU's approval.

Former WRU boss David Moffett wants to stand for election as union chairman, and claims that he could solve Welsh rugby's woes in just ten days.

"I've come back because I'm passionate about Welsh rugby. And in recent months I've seen what's happening here", he tells Richard Morgan.

"There is a toxic relationship between the union and the regions. They do not trust each other, they don't like each other, they don't respect each other. I believe I can change that."

Welsh players in Europe give their view on the regions row

One of the main sticking points in negotiations is the issue of player retention. Recent years have seen more and more Welsh internationals leave their regions to take up contracts with wealthy clubs abroad.

So would more money be the answer to keeping players here or are there other motivations? Our Sports Reporter Nick Hartley went to meet Mike Phillips and Jamie Roberts in France to hear why they went, and how they feel better off out of the crisis.

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