Wales’ Six Nations rugby international against England will go ahead as scheduled after a potential strike by Welsh players over a contract dispute was averted, captain Ken Owens and acting Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Nigel Walker both announced Wednesday.
Saturday’s showpiece in Cardiff was at risk because of the dispute, with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) facing losses of up to £9 million ($11 million) if the game at a packed Principality Stadium did not take place.
All professional players in Wales had been invited to a meeting at Wales’ training base in the Vale of Glamorgan to discuss issues with the Professional Rugby Board, which handles contractual issues, on Wednesday — a deadline set by Welsh players for progress on the matter.
Many of the players’ existing deals at the four Welsh regional sides expire at the end of the season.
A new financial agreement between the four Welsh regions — Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets — and the WRU had still to be confirmed in writing, further ratcheting up the pressure for strike action.
But Owens, speaking after Wednesday’s talks, said: “The players are satisfied, hence why the game is on on Saturday.”
Nigel Walker, the acting WRU chief executive, speaking alongside Owens, said: “I’m pleased to announce that after extensive conversations and discussions over the last week the Wales-England game will go ahead as scheduled.”
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