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Wales Under-18s tour to South Africa under threat amid row between WRU and regions

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: July 31, 2014

Wales are scheduled to play England in Cape Town on August 15.

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WALES Under-18s' tour of South Africa this month is under threat amid the ongoing row between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four Welsh regions.

Players contracted with the Ospreys, Scarlets, Blues and Dragons have been stopped from training in preparation for a festival where Wales are set to go up against England, South Africa and France.

Regional Rugby Wales, the umbrella body that represents the regions, announced earlier this month that they would not release players to international competitions that were outside of the International Rugby Board window.

And although they allowed players to head to Glasgow to compete for Team Wales in the Commonwealth Games sevens, they are holding firm with their under-18s players.

Wales, under the stewardship of Allan Lewis, are due to fly out to South Africa on August 11, but for the last two weekends haven't been able to train together as a squad in preparation for the matches which are taking place across the Western Cape.

Wales are scheduled to play England in Cape Town on August 15, South Africa in George on August 19 and France in Stellenbosch on August 23.

But with little sign of the impasse between the governing body and regions ending, the WRU may be soon forced into making a decision whether to go ahead with the tour or not.

The row surrounds the failure of both parties to agree on a new participation agreement, which binds the regions to the union over matters such as funding, player release and overseas quotas.

Earlier this month, the regions described the negotiations as 'indescribably tortuous' and have said they will go it alone without union funding and not release their players for tournaments outside of IRB regulations, including the controversial fourth November international.

Further talks have been taking place this week, but the Post understands the regions and WRU are still some way from coming to any agreement.

Robert Lloyd

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