Six Nations: Warren Gatland confident Wales will reach strike resolution in time for England game

Six Nations: Warren Gatland confident Wales will reach strike resolution in time for England game

Warren Gatland remains confident Wales will avert a strike and face England on Saturday despite ripping up his training schedule on the eve of crunch talks.

Wales boss Gatland has delayed his team announcement until Thursday and scrapped afternoon training on Tuesday to let players hold more crisis meetings with union bosses.

Wales’ Six Nations players are still threatening to strike ahead of the England game because the WRU has yet to agree funding for the four regions for next season. That has left as many as 90 players in limbo, with their contracts expiring this summer and still no word on new deals for next term.

Welsh chiefs are understood to have made concessions on player demands, but those moves do not yet go far enough to settle the unrest. Every professional player in Wales is due to meet with WRU chiefs tomorrow, in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a strike.

However, Gatland believes altering his squad’s schedule could force a faster resolution.

“I'm confident that with the discussions taking place hopefully something will get resolved today,” said Gatland. “It's been a bit of a challenge, but sometimes that galvanizes people and brings them together.

“I wanted to get things resolved hopefully today and we can just focus on the game for Saturday.”

A strike would prove unprecedented in Welsh history, for a match that could earn the WRU as much as £10million.

The cash-strapped union can ill afford to lose that revenue, especially when costs are being cut in light of the continued effect of the pandemic.

Asked if he was confident of the England match going ahead, Gatland said: “Yes. I'm hearing positive things from both sides.

“Hopefully the discussions will be acceptable to both sides in terms of getting some compromise and we can get on with the game.

“With the uncertainty of what's happening, there have been a lot of meetings going on so we just wanted to make sure we got clarity.”