WRU declares victory in player release - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

WRU declares victory in player release

25/10/2008 07:37:27 AM Comments (0)

The Welsh Rugby Union insisted on Friday they had won a major legal victory in the battle with the country's professional clubs over the vexed issue of player release.

With just over a fortnight until Wales open their November Test program against world champions South Africa, Welsh rugby found itself locked into an acrimonious 'club v country' row.

The four professional regional teams - Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Newport Gwent Dragons and Scarlets - said players would not be released until five days before the game.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland wanted at least three days' additional access next week.

In return the New Zealander would then be prepared to send players to their regions for Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures the weekend before the South Africa match.

And it looks as if Gatland will get his wish to assemble the squad on Monday after the High Court ruled the regions should not "prevent, hinder or obstruct" the players from attending training on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

They will also be available for training for the whole of the following week.

Judge Havelock Allan, according to a WRU statement, said his ruling was binding on the regions by virtue of the express terms of the Participation Agreement and also by virtue of their membership of the WRU.

"Welsh rugby has right on its side and common sense has prevailed," said WRU chief executive Roger Lewis.

"This is a victory for the fans of Welsh rugby. Wales will face the world champions on November 8 and we have taken this action to ensure they have time to prepare properly for that historic encounter."

Wales's match against the Springboks will be their first Test at the Millennium since they defeated France there in March to seal a Six Nations Grand Slam in Gatland's first season in charge.

November also has Wales at home to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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