Wales eye England win after player’s grief
CARDIFF (BRITAIN) – With the threat of players’ strikes over, Wales are now focused on their first win of this year’s Six Nations when they meet England in Cardiff on Saturday.
A dispute over players’ contracts reached a climax this week when Welsh players threatened to go on strike over contractual issues.
However, compromises have been reached and play at Principality Stadium will go ahead as planned.
Wales manager Warren Gatland, who made nine changes from the side that lost 7-35 to Scotland in their last game, admitted the dispute was “challenging, there’s no doubt about that”.
“I support the players in relation to the measures taken,” he said.
“Maybe there could have been a little more warning, but there it is and they made those calls.”
Since Saturday, professional players in Wales have known that if you have 25 caps instead of 60, playing abroad is an option.
Player representation at Professional Rugby Board (PRB) meetings is also guaranteed, while a move has been taken on contracts to include only fixed contracts alongside hybrid fixed and variable contracts (80% in fixed wages, 20% in bonuses).
The players, Gatland said, “are quite happy with the result and what’s going to happen going forward”.
Gatland admitted Wales found success in his first spell as head coach between 2007 and 2019, when he oversaw four Six Nations titles in 2011 and 2019, including three Grand Slams and two Rugby World Cup semi-final appearances, “probably had overwritten those.” Cracks a little”.
“It prevented the dam from bursting. The dam is now broken. It’s broken because regions feel underfunded and aren’t having the success that players want,” he explained.
“We are not successful as a national team. The desire to play for Wales and potentially be in Wales isn’t as strong as it used to be.
“Winning and success often hides some of the issues that go on behind the scenes.”
– Exactly what we need –
England manager Steve Borthwick, who saw his side lose 29-23 to Scotland before recovering to a 31-14 win over Italy, said he and all his players sympathized with the Wales players.
“Nobody should have to go through the level of uncertainty they’ve had,” he said, underlining the fact that the situation in England had to be revised after both Wasps and Worcester went under administration this season and no longer in the play English Premiership.
“With that in mind, I think this game is exactly what we need. We want those big, exciting games full of passion that allow us to focus on rugby.”
A fierce competitor, Gatland didn’t mince words about what he wanted on Saturday.
“We owe it to ourselves to put in a performance,” he said after two defeats by Ireland (34-10) and Scotland (35-7).
“I spent the first couple of games trying to figure out where we were as a team. I think I have a pretty good feeling about it at the moment. There is still a lot of work for us. There are a lot of things we need to fix ourselves instead of looking at our opposition.”
Topping the list was cutting a devastating penalty tally, with Wales giving away a total of 35 penalties against the Irish and Scots and limiting England’s set plays.
Another problem was players finding the intensity that Gatland’s Welsh teams had historically achieved. “They’re not far off, but they’re not quite as good as they used to be,” he said.
“Fingers crossed if the scale of the game – what this game means and the story – hits, they’ll be ready for that on Saturday.”
Borthwick added: “We need to make sure we have the right game plan and deliver it on Saturday.
“It’s an experienced team,” Borthwick said of Wales. “I’m sure they’re just as focused on the game as we are now.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch