Credit: TFDuesing / Thomas Duesing

Fans divided over player strike that could hit Wales v England game

Alun Wyn Jones has warned the WRU it has just days to sort out issues or team may refuse to take to the field

FORMER Welsh rugby union captain Alun Wyn Jones says players may refuse to take the field for the Wales v England game if the WRU doesn’t sort out pay and contract issues.

But how do fans feel about the move? The Cardiffian went out the streets of Cardiff to find out.

Jonathan Doyle from Cork said: “Well, I’m down here visiting with my three boys, and we’d be very disappointed if the game was called off.

“However, I’m still fully behind the players and I believe it’s up to the people in charge to sort things out.”

But Nathan Jenkins from Treherbert said: “I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s ever right for players not to do their jobs.

“At the end of the day they’re still on good money and people pay a lot to go and watch them.”

The Welsh Rugby Players’ Association said it wanted to avoid strike action and that “members want to be taking the field as they always have”.

And Welsh coach Warren Gatland said that while he “completely supports the stance players are taking,” he would not be in favour of strike action, even as a last resort.

The dispute between the WRPA and the Professional Rugby Board is largely over pay, which was reduced by 20% during the pandemic and would be cut further based on current proposals.

Alun Wyn Jones said players felt “boxed in” by what is on the table. “This should have been sorted a long time ago,” he said.

On Wednesday, the PRB said there was “no room for negotiation,” over player demand for increased wages and the removal of a salary cap.

The PRB said the average salary of a Welsh rugby player under the new framework would be about £100,000 per year.

On Thursday, the WRPA called on the PRB to “prioritise fair agreement” and acknowledge “the position and wellbeing of the game’s main assets, which are its players”.

Wales are due to welcome England to Cardiff on February 25, but if a resolution is not agreed by then, the grudge match could be abandoned.