Planet Rugby

Civil war to leave Warburton teamless?

13th July 2014 11:16

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Sam Warburton rugby sevens Twickenham

Sam Warburton: centrally contracted to WRU

Wales captain Sam Warburton is facing the prospect of not having a team to play for as a result of the continued row between the WRU and RRW.

Warburton is the Welsh Rugby Union's only centrally-contracted player having signed a deal in January that would see him play for Cardiff Blues whilst his salary would be paid by the national union.

However, the latest breakdown in talks with Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) - the umbrella organisation for the four Welsh Pro12 teams - over the renewal of the participation agreement that expired on June 30, is placing his career in jeopardy.

As it currently stands, the regions are unwilling to field centrally-contracted players.

"Sam Warburton will not play for any of the regional teams until an agreement is done and there is no sign of that," a spokesman for RRW told the Rugby Paper.

"We have absolutely no issue with a more effective contractual model as long as it works for both sides but there will be no compromise for some half-baked scheme. The four [regions] are bound legally on this issue."

Without a new agreement between the warring bodies, the regions will have no form of WRU involvement, outside what is required by International Rugby Board regulations, while the regions could prevent the release of their players for Wales' November 29 Test against South Africa, which falls outside the official IRB window, as well as national squad training camps ahead of the year-end Tests.

Playing in England is not an option for Warburton as the Aviva Premiership's regulations do not permit clubs to field players contracted to a national union.

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