In today’s press conference with Warren Gatland, the Wales coach remained confident that the upcoming match against England will go ahead as planned.
Tensions remain high between players and Welsh Rugby bosses as threats of strikes loom over the WRU. The dispute over contracts has put the upcoming international fixture in jeopardy, with a deadline of Wednesday 22nd February having been set by the players for the disputes to be settled.
The welsh squad announcement was delayed as a direct result of the disagreements, but Gatland has indicated that movements are being made:
Warren Gatland hopes Wales’ clash with England still happens on Saturday 🏴 pic.twitter.com/IPcRqSfInX
— Mirror Sport (@MirrorSport) February 21, 2023
“I’m hearing positive things from both sides,” said Gatland.
“Hopefully the discussions will be acceptable to both sides in terms of getting some compromise and we can get on with the game.
“There are no assurances at the moment, but I’m confident that with the discussions taking place hopefully something will get resolved today.
“There have probably been half a dozen meetings over the last few days. It’s like everything, you have to find some middle ground.
“Hopefully, in the discussions today there will be some, where the players are happy and the Professional Rugby Board are also happy with some of the decisions they make as well.
“The thing is, when you are in discussions, it’s not always about win-win for one side. You have to find some compromise. Hopefully, that will be the case today.”
However, Gatland did make the point that the threat of strike was not to be taken lightly, saying:
“I think it is a genuine threat, there is no doubt about that.
“Having spoken to a few people today, I am confident that we will get some resolution.”
Wanting to have the negotiations completed and off of the player’s minds, Gatland has been careful to lighten the workload of his players: “Today was supposed to be a double session, but we have kept it to just this morning so we are not training this afternoon.
“I made the decision… there has been a lot of things that have been going on outside of rugby, and that has been a part of the focus.
“Rather than train this afternoon, we did a longer session this morning, and gave players an opportunity to go and rest, and hopefully that resolution takes place.
“There has been no discussion from the players about not taking part in training. Hopefully those things get resolved and the boys turn up on Thursday raring to go for Saturday.”
“I don’t think there is going to be any lack of motivation for a player playing against England,
“The boys have got a day off tomorrow and I’m sure if things are resolved they will come back and they will be completely focused on the game.”
No official announcements have been made as of yet.