Wales v England: Ken Owens on turning 'horrendous' contracts saga into 'positive' for Six Nations

The captain of Wales has spoken out about what he described as a "horrendous two weeks" following a crisis in Welsh rugby over a contracts dispute.

Ken Owens said he felt "disappointed" it got to the stage it did with uncertainty surrounding whether Saturday's game against England would even go ahead as a threat from players to strike over the issue loomed.

Following talks at the Welsh training base on Wednesday, players reached an agreement with WRU and they confirmed the game would be happening.

"I felt disappointed it got to the stage that it did but as players, we needed to do it because there's so much uncertainty in the game, players getting injured and all the rest of it it's not an ideal scenario", he said.

"I'm not gonna lie and say it's been an easy two weeks - it's something I'll learn from.

"To be honest it's something I'll never want to experience it again. I'll be completely honest.

"We need to win to get pride back in the shirt after two defeats and it has been a horrendous two weeks. But we can only focus on the rugby and moving forward."

  • Owens said the team need to win on Saturday to put "pride" back in their shirt and a way to thank the public for their support

Wales lost their first two Six Nations games – 34-10 against Ireland and 35-7 to Scotland – and Gatland was asked whether off-field uncertainty had affected performances on the pitch.

Warren Gatland praised Ken Owens for the way the situation was dealt with Credit: PA

“Now that I reflect back on it and look back on the first period I was here (from 2008 to 2019), a lot of these issues were going on, but the fact we had been reasonably successful as a national side probably papered over the cracks a little bit,” he added.

Speaking during Thursday's press conference, Gatland added that Owens was a key voice for the players as matters were thrashed out behind closed doors.

“There is no doubt that this week has taken a bit of a toll on him,” Gatland added.

“He has done a fantastic job in terms of supporting and leading the players. I made a joke that he looked 10 years younger this morning – it was like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.”

On Friday, Owens said the team were now focused about getting a win.

"It's about getting a result on Saturday - I don't feel we've put pride back in the shirt.

"We want to finish this saga on a positive.

When asked if he was OK he responded "I'm fine. Don't you worry about me i'm good."