Why are Wales rugby players threatening to go on strike for England match in Six Nations? | The Sun

WHENEVER England roll across the Severn Bridge and into Cardiff it is always an occasion to get the heart rate up.

Wales vs England is simply one of the biggest fixtures in the UK sporting landscape.

But in this year's Six Nations, there is the chance that the match may not be able to go ahead – because the Wales players are threatening to strike.

It comes after torrid accusations of sexism rocked the governing body, leading to the resignation of former CEO Steve Phillips.

Here is all you need to know about the latest controversy in a terrible year for the Welsh Rugby Union.

Why are Wales players going on strike for the England game?

Wales' players are at loggerheads with the WRU over the new player central contracts which get negotiated every six years.

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The current deal expires at the end of the season and months of discussions with the WRU's interim CEO Nigel Walker have stalled.

It has led to the most senior Welsh players going into a situation where they may not take to the field for their fixture against the Red Rose.

The latest set of central contracts affects not just Wales players but also those playing for their regions, who also get occasional caps for Wales.

The latest deal from the WRU would mean players get paid on average £100,000 a year, the union claim.

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What is the WRU's 60-cap rule and will it be scrapped?

The controversial 60-cap rule was brought in by the Union in 2017 in a bid to keep Wales' top players in the country and playing for the regions – in a bid to make them more competitive.

The regions feared that if they lost their best players, the stars would move abroad to France or England and make the four regions, the Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff less competitive.

Warren Gatland disapproved of the rule at the time and did not want it kept.

The highest-profile casualty of this rule was scrum-half Rhys Webb, who moved to Toulon in 2017 when he had only 28 caps.

Webb was considered one of the top few No9s in the world at the time and he was frozen out of the Welsh set-up but got handsomely paid at Toulon.

Ironically, Webb is now back at the Ospreys and has featured in Wales' opening two Six Nations defeats in 2023.

When asked if the strike is imminent, rugby's record caps holder Alun Wyn Jones said: "I suppose it is. It's hard to deny, but it's the very last option.

"There are people who are really impassioned. Ultimately, if you treat people badly for long enough, you get to where we find ourselves.

"We realise what we do and how fortunate we are to do it.

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"But if this was any other line of work or any other industry for this period of time with this amount of uncertainty, you'd get the same reaction.

"We're very respectful to society as a whole, but it comes to a point now where the game in Wales has to make a decision in which way it wants to go."

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