Wayne Pivac, the Wales boss is in trouble with his team not playing as expected of them. In an interview with The42 Rugby Weekly Extra, Welsh rugby journalist Steffan Thomas spoke about the problems of the regions and the fact that they cannot agree on some details.
Finances are a big problem. “The top-end internationals obviously know subconsciously that they’re going to have contracts because they’re Lions, etc. but there are a lot of players at the regions who don’t know if they’re going to be professional rugby players next season,” Thomas said, as quoted by the42.ie “The regions just aren’t able to plan because they don’t know their playing budgets, they can’t sign players, they can’t retain players.
It’s just a mess. How can you possibly have plans to be successful when that sort of thing is going on in the background? During the height of the Gatland era, a lot of people were saying – because the regions weren’t great then – that unless the WRU really invested in them, that the national team would eventually go downhill.
We’re at that stage now and there’s a lack of leadership. You’ve also got the situation where there isn’t enough money in Wales for four professional teams. I think there’s going to have to be a harsh decision to be made.
There were recommendations to the WRU which suggested they should cut to three teams. I wouldn’t like to see that but I don’t think Wales has enough top-quality players anymore or enough money to sustain four fully-functioning professional teams.
The game in Wales at the moment is in a difficult place”.
Such things represent big problems for the players, whose future becomes questionable because of it. “I spoke to one player the other day who has a job lined up away from the game, a run-of-the-mill job, because he doesn’t know whether he’s going to have a contract next season or not,” said Thomas.
“It’s not great for the top internationals either, but they know they’re going to get something because they’re top players, even if it’s outside Wales. But for other players, maybe fringe internationals, it’s going to be really tough.
“The regions are going to have to cut the size of their squads, they’re going to have to cut their cloth accordingly. “If you’re a regional squad player and you don’t know whether you’re going to have a job next year, it’s going to affect your performance.
If you’re working in an office and know there’s a host of redundancies coming, it would be naive and daft to think that’s not going to affect the way you perform in work.