Hammett: Warburton is ready to play
August 26, 2014
Mark Hammett is looking forward to having Sam Warburton back on the field © PA Photos
Cardiff Blues coach Mark Hammett says Sam Warburton is ready to play but they are still waiting on the final details of the Participation Agreement to be ironed out.
Both the WRU and Regional Rugby Wales have been in discussions over a new Participation Agreement for the past year - a contract that governs funding, player release and contracts. The deadline of June 30 passed without any agreement between the two parties but reports on Sunday said they have finally reached a compromise with the new Agreement set to be unveiled this week.
The agreement means Warburton will be permitted to return to playing duties for the Cardiff Blues after he was sidelined by the impasse in discussions - the regions said they would not pick any player on a WRU-funded central contract.
When the agreement is finally confirmed, it will come as a welcome boost for Blues coach Hammett. He said: "There are politics everywhere and we concentrate on the rugby side of things. But I am a people person and I care about how people are treated.
"I don't see any negativity concerning it but I'm not a mind-reader, for some it might be in the back of their minds. I suppose for us, I guess it affects Sam as he can't play but he's the ultimate professional. He's done PBs in training, he's the last one to leave and he's on track. When the dotted line is signed, he'll be ready to go."
For Dragons coach Lyn Jones, he is optimistic the deal will be signed but he will not be taking anything for granted until the ink is finally on the paper. He also hopes the new Agreement will herald a period of strength for the regions.
"If the regions don't start picking things up then the national side will get hurt as well," Jones said. "I feel it's important that out of this new Agreement there are things that will help the regions be successful both in the Celtic competition and the European competition."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.