Owens: Wales row frustrating for players
August 8, 2014
Ken Owens hopes an agreement can be reached before Wales take on South Africa in November © Getty Images
Scarlets hooker Ken Owens has admitted that players have grown frustrated by the stalemate between the WRU and regions over the future of Welsh rugby.
An agreement between the Welsh governing body and professional teams expired on June 31 and the two parties have yet to sign a new deal governing domestic rugby in the country.
Owens, capped 26 times by Wales, revealed that the impasse has become a talking point for players, who are hoping that officials from both sides can come together to reach an agreement.
"There is obviously discussion because it's all we're hearing about at the moment," Owens said. "It is frustrating from a player's point of view because we can't really influence it.
"We've just got to leave it in the hands of the people at the top and they'll make a decision on what's best for Welsh rugby. Hopefully it can get sorted soon and we can all get back to talking about the rugby."
The WRU and Regional Rugby Wales - the body that represents Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets - are currently discussing a new 'Rugby Services Agreement'. Any deal would govern part of the funding of regional rugby and the release of players for Wales internationals and training sessions.
If an agreement is not reached, the regions would not be obliged to release players for Wales' Test against South Africa on November 29, which falls outside the IRB's official Test match window.
But Owens, who scored a try in Wales' narrow 31-30 defeat by the Springboks in June, hopes the argument will be settled before the release of players becomes an issue.
"It's completely out of the players' control at the moment and we hope that a resolution can be found and the players aren't going to end up in that difficult situation," Owens said. "The focus is taken away from rugby.
"At this time of the year we should all be getting excited about the new season and how the regions are going to do, how the Welsh squad can compete against the southern hemisphere sides. The sooner we can get talking about the rugby the better."
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