WRU offer to help keep leading Welsh stars in Wales
THE regions are likely to meet before deciding whether to accept the Welsh Rugby Union’s offer to help them keep their leading players in Wales.
The union have offered to employ all of the regions’ leading Wales players whose contracts expire in 2014.
Once the uncertainty over the future of European rugby has cleared up the player contracts would revert to the regions.
The money for the deals would come of the £33 million the WRU says it will be providing for the four professional sides over the next five years.
Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Jones, Ian Evans, Jonathan Davies, Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny are among Wales-squad players who are out of contract at the end of this term.
The union’s offer was made at a meeting with the regional chairmen on Monday. But the regions want to mull over the terms and conditions before deciding whether to accept, with a concern being that they do not want to jeopardise their long-term financial health.
Union group chief executive Roger Lewis said: “I want to make it clear to our players that we have full confidence in the future of the elite game in Wales.
"It is important that any player considering his future right now fully understands the level of support the WRU is prepared to offer.
"It would be inappropriate to go into details about any negotiations or discussions which rightly have to be concluded in private, but I respect the concerns of the players at a time when our talks on Europe are continuing.
"Our squad is about to embark on a demanding autumn series of international games and it is vitally important that all of their minds are completely focused on the task in hand.
"I shared this proposal with the regional chairmen on Monday of this week and look forward to what I expect would be a positive response.”
The WRU remain optimistic there will be a “positive outcome” to the talks on the future of European rugby.
Earlier this week, the regions came out in support of the new Rugby Champions Cup, despite the WRU having previously opposed the club-run competition.