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WRU ends impasse with regions

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PRO 14    

Wales' brilliant weekend set to get even better as worried regions strike budgetary deal with WRU

Wales’ sublime weekend is about to get an even whole lot better with budgetary agreements expected to be signed off on Monday to end months of uncertainty regarding the future of the country’s four regional sides.

Crunch talks on Friday on the eve of Wales’ Six Nations win over England have apparently led to hands being shaken on a long-awaited deal between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions over the financial resourcing of its Project Reset system.

Psychological help had allegedly been sought by some Welsh players stressed out by delays over the introduction of the new pay system that left the PRO14 regions unable to sign new players or re-sign those who are heading towards the status of free agents at the end of this season.

However, that impasse is now about to end following the promise that the budgets for next year will be the same as this season, ending fears of possible job cuts and team amalgamations. The regions can now start organising their recruitment and laying the foundation for 2019/20.

“There was a meeting on Friday and we’re delighted with the outcome,” said Ospreys general manager Andrew Millward in Sunday’s edition of The Rugby Paper. “In its basic terms, there is no change.

(Continue reading below…)

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“As far as I’m aware the budgets for next year will be the same as this year. There is no uplift. Unfortunately there is not the money around to get more, but as far as I’m aware it will be signed off on Monday and our budget will be the same next year as it is this. I’d be disappointed if that didn’t happen.”

In existence since 2003/04 when the professional arms of Neath and Swansea merged, the Ospreys had been threatened with amalgamation with Cardiff Blues if a resolution hadn’t been found to the stand-off.

“What we’ve got now is clarity. We know where we’re going – the road map to get there is what now needs to be put in place,” continued Millward.

“I’d a chat with the squad before the Munster game (of Friday night) because it had escalated to a point where things were becoming unmanageable.

“I played amateur and professional rugby, but I can’t remember a time where it has been as tough as it has been recently. The players were in a position where they knew in three or four months they might not have a job.”

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Wales' brilliant weekend set to get even better as worried regions strike budgetary deal with WRU