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WRU call for central contract talks

The Welsh Rugby Union have called for officials from the four regions to attend a Millennium Stadium meeting to thrash out a solution to the challenge of retaining the country's best players.

Despite the national side's recent successes, including back-to-back RBS 6 Nations titles, the Welsh regions have struggled to retain their home-grown star men due to spending capabilities of clubs in France and England. At the weekend the clubs and the WRU appeared further away than ever from a solution.

On Sunday the WRU accused the Scarlets of looking to cash in on one of their key assets by touting George North to clubs in France last year - without the Wales wing's knowledge. North now appears set to join Northampton later in the year.

The WRU claimed they were prepared to provide the backing to keep North in Wales by tying him to a central contract, only to later discover the regions had an agreement in place not to field any player contracted to the union.

Rather than allow any hostility to grow, the WRU now want talks to be held at the national stadium in Cardiff over the implementation and merit of central contracts.

In a statement, the WRU said: "The WRU invites representatives from each of the four regional organisations to a meeting at the Millennium Stadium to discuss the contracting centrally of key Welsh rugby talent.

"The WRU asks the four regional organisations to put aside their agreement not to play centrally contracted players and work with the Union to help secure the future of our young players in Wales.

"The WRU will table, in advance of the meeting, a range of detailed options to be discussed, in addition to those already proposed, so that the four regional organisations are fully prepared to take part in a meaningful debate.

"The WRU would also welcome suggestions from the four regional organisations on how best a centrally contracted player system would work to help safeguard Welsh rugby.

"The WRU will be formally writing to the four regional organisations this morning, Tuesday April 2nd."


From Belfast Telegraph