Welsh Rugby Players Association wants real change in the professional game in response to reports of further pay cuts.
For a number of years, the struggles of the Regional game in Wales have been well documented. Attendances have continued to suffer, and long-term financial sustainability is, and was a major issue long before COVID-19 accelerated the crisis. This is against a backdrop of political manoeuvring, mismanagement and issues around trust & transparency across the professional landscape. This has often meant that players have not always been treated fairly and are often at the brunt of fall out in the game.
In moments of crisis, change is often needed, and the players are determined to be part of a positive change in the game. As they have demonstrated previously, the players have made sacrifices to protect immediate threats to rugby.
However, they feel that now is the time for change and the players would like to work with all stakeholders to find sustainable solutions for the good of the sport.
In relation to reports of pay cuts, it is important to remember that players have families, dependents, mortgages and very short careers. The WRPA is acutely aware of the significant financial losses reported, and if pay cuts were requested the players would want to understand how these savings would relate to a long-term financial solution, given the historical issues in the regional game. The players remain open to how they can support the viability of the game in Wales, but it would be fruitless for players to make further sacrifices only for the game to return to the issues that existed before Covid-19.
We support the WRU exploring whether a global season at international level is good for the game and at the same time consider it vital that the opportunity is grasped to create a better future for the regional game here in Wales.