Walesâ bid for gold medal glory in the rugby sevens tournament at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow could be the first casualty of the breakdown of peace negotiations between the WRU and the countryâs four regions.
For Regional Rugby Wales, the umbrella organisation which looks after the interests of the Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets is threatening to withdraw its representatives as the opening salvo in the burning row over the future of the Welsh professional game.
Although some of them have contracts with the WRU to play on the sevens circuit, they also have deals with their regions.
It means the likes of Blues signing Jevon Groves, Gareth Davies, captain Adam Thomas, Craig Price and James Davies might be forced to miss the showpiece event and a chance of a lifetime.
The Participation Agreement between the WRU and RRW, which covered international release, ran out at the end of last month.
That means the extra funding the regions receive from the governing body â they automatically get competition money for appearing in Europe, the Pro12 and the Anglo-Welsh LV Cup â would dry up without a new deal.
And the failure to come up with a solution to the crisis which has dogged the game for 18 months could result in a number of measures being taken by the regions.
Under the old Participation Agreement, the regions received a combined total of Â£6.7m from central funds in return for international player release, observing overseas quotas and other issues.
That contract guaranteed the release of players for Wales coach Warren Gatlandâs two-week squad training camps ahead of the November internationals and the Six Nations.
Fourth autumn Test
It also enabled Gatland to pick his home-based stars for the money-spinning fourth autumn Test, which Wales regularly stage outside the approved International Rugby Board window.
But, if a new agreement doesnât materialise, the regions could prevent the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Toby Faletau, Dan Biggar, Ken Owens and Alex Cuthbert from lining up against South Africa at the Millennium Stadium on November 29 in this yearâs extra international.
In the longer-term, it could seriously hamper Gatlandâs plans to have his Welsh-based aces for a sustained period to prepare for next yearâs World Cup in England.
The Commonwealth Games tournament was intended to be a sevens swansong for captain Adam Thomas and James Davies, the brother of Wales centre star Jonathan and who went on Walesâ summer tour of South Africa, before focusing on regional careers with the Blues and the Scarlets respectively.
But the uncertainty over who is available and who is not could ravage Walesâ chances in Glasgow with the regions and the WRU incurring the wrath of the high-powered officials at the Commonwealth Games Council of Wales.
Walesâ Commonwealth Games squad:
Adam Thomas (C, Pontypridd Blues)
Craig Price (Scarlets)
Iolo Evans (Carmarthen Quins)
James Davies (Scarlets)
Jevon Groves (Blues)
Luke Treharne (Exeter University)
Lee Williams (Carmarthen Quins)
Gareth Davies (Blues)
Will Harries (unattached)
Gareth Owen (Scarlets)
Luke Morgan (Bridgend)
Alex Webber (Pontypridd)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/24865350
Wales" rugby sevens Commonwealth gold bid could be hit by breakdown of ...