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Former Wales international Andrew Coombs has given his support to possible player strike action amid a freeze on new contract offers in Welsh rugby.
A meeting is set to take place within the next week between Welsh Rugby Players’ Association officials and players.
Strike action is thought to be one option available, and it comes as Wales continue preparations for their Guinness Six Nations clash against England in Cardiff on Saturday week.
The situation has been magnified due to recruitment being on hold and next season’s playing budgets not yet finalised for Wales’ four professional regions of Cardiff, Ospreys, Dragons and Scarlets.
A new long-term financial agreement between the regions and Welsh Rugby Union has yet to be confirmed in writing, sparking concern that a sizeable number of players whose existing contracts expire at the end of this season will head away from Wales.
It has generated a huge sense of uncertainty for players and their families.
Coombs, a second-row forward who won 10 caps in 2013 and 2014, said on Twitter: “Players should not be playing without a signed contract in front of them.
“One big injury and they will be jobless with no medical support! I know that feeling well and would not wish it on any other player.
“Best wishes with your strike action! Players, Coaches, Backroom Staff, Supporters, Pundits… Line the streets in front of the stadium and demand this shambles to be over! Enough is enough!”
Players should not be playing without a signed contract in front of them. One big injury and they will be jobless with no medical support! I know that feeling well and would not wish it on any other player
Negotiations on the future of the professional game in Wales are handled by the Professional Rugby Board, which comprises representatives from each of the regions, acting WRU chief executive Nigel Walker, WRU finance director Tim Moss and two independent members, including chair Malcolm Wall.
In the PRB’s latest statement issued just before the start of this season’s Six Nations, Wall said: “Professional Rugby Board negotiations are currently at an advanced stage with verbal agreement reached and a heads of terms document signed on a new six-year deal for the professional game.
“This agreement has been signed off and endorsed by the WRU board and each PRB member.
“Signing the heads of terms agreement has enabled our professional sides to begin contract negotiations with players now, on a conditional basis.
“Conditional contracts are now available, giving players details of their individual offer.
“There is still much to do, but the PRB will continue to work hard, together with the WRPA for the benefit of all parties.”
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