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Why Wales' players will be 'galvanised' by off-field issues

(Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

England forwards coach Richard Cockerill believes that Wales’ players will be galvanised by current off-field issues ahead of next week’s Guinness Six Nations clash.


Player strike action is thought to be a possible option amid an ongoing contracts freeze in Welsh rugby.

A meeting is planned, scheduled in the next week, between Welsh Rugby Players’ Association officials and players.

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Recruitment is currently on hold for Wales’ four professional regions of Cardiff, Ospreys, Dragons and Scarlets, while budgets are not in place with a new financial agreement between the regions and Welsh Rugby Union yet to be confirmed in writing.

That has sparked concern that a sizeable number of players whose existing contracts expire at the end of this season will head away from Wales, with players and their families currently engulfed by uncertainty.

“I think if anything it will probably galvanise them because they have their issues,” Cockerill said.

“I don’t really understand what the politics of it is, but from my experience, any hardship with a playing group generally brings them tighter together.


“We will start to get into Wales next week. We will treat them with respect, as we always do.

“England have always found it difficult in Cardiff, but we are preparing and getting our minds purely around that. What Wales are doing with their players is not really our concern.”

Wales have won five of their last seven games against England in Cardiff, including three victories on the bounce.

But they will tackle Steve Borthwick’s team on the back of comprehensive Six Nations defeats against Ireland and Scotland.


Cockerill added: “I think if players feel they have to stick up for themselves, they stick up for themselves and do what they have to do.

“From an England end we are concentrating on training this week and we know how difficult it is going to be going to Cardiff.”


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