Welsh Rugby
Welsh regions provide player boost for Six Nations
January 7, 2009

Wales boss Warren Gatland has received a sizeable boost ahead of his side's Six Nations defence after Wales' regions promised to release players for international training.

Regional Rugby Wales (RRW), the body responsible for representing the Blues, Ospreys, Dragons and Scarlets, agreed to release players in line with IRB regulations, meaning that there shouldn't be a repeat of the protracted court battle that blighted Wales' preparations for the autumn internationals.

Under IRB law Gatland is entitled to begin training with his players eight days before their Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 8.

"The regions will of course abide by this requirement as they will for future summer tours and autumn internationals," RRW interim chief executive David Moffett told The Western Mail. "I'm sure nobody would want to see a repeat performance of the WRU taking its own regions to court, which is why, to cancel out the prospect of any such reoccurrence, the regions are making it crystal clear that they will fully comply with the rules now detailing release as drawn up by the IRB, the game's ultimate governing body."

Moffett also echoed sentiments put forward by Welsh Rugby Union chief Roger Lewis by stating his hopes that RRW and the union could find a solution to their differences for the good of the game in Wales.

"There is a long way to go yet but at least we're talking," he said. " RRW is very clear on the role of regional rugby in continuing to ensure the success of the national team, not only in terms of developing the players that make up the squad, but also allowing the union the use of the regions' players from which the WRU is able to generate its income.

"The stronger the regions are, the stronger the national game is, it's as simple as that. We want to ensure the regions continue to flourish and that the WRU engages with us to harness every opportunity to make that happen."

© Scrum.com

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