MUNSTER, ULSTER AND CONNACHT have been thrown a fixtures curve-ball as their three Welsh opponents for round seven [October 31-November 2] have been scheduled to play in the LV= Cup.
This week’s draw in Britain has thrown up a fixtures headache that Welsh rugby is ill-equipped to deal with at present. The cup, which encompasses Premiership and Welsh clubs, features four pools, with the top side from each making a semi final next March.
On the same weekend as the proposed cup fixtures, Munster are scheduled to play Cardiff at Cardiff Arms Park, Connacht face Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium and Ulster welcome Dragons to Kingspan Stadium.
The four Welsh regions are currently locked in protracted negotiations with the Welsh Rugby Union about a number of contentious issues, including availability of international players and profit sharing from television revenue. Until a compromise is reached, the future of Wales’ commitment of players for the November internationals, participation in various club competitions and the playing future of Welsh captain Sam Warburton remains in doubt.
As reported by Wales Online, the RFU, who organises the cup, released a statement that has done little to clear up the confusion. It reads, “The WRU is currently in negotiations with the regions regarding the Participation Agreement for the upcoming season.
“Once those negotiations have concluded, they will address the potential clash for Welsh clubs in Round 1 of the LV= Cup, the dates of which were agreed by all LV= Cup stakeholders back in April 2014.”