The brutal reality of Welsh rugby hits homes and stars thrown into scrap

The brutal reality of Welsh rugby hits homes and stars thrown into scrap


May has been a terrible month for many Welsh rugby players.

After receiving the dreaded tap on the shoulder, they were in fact told they were out of work. The game in Wales is facing difficult times and reducing the number of teams is considered one of the solutions to the current structural and financial problems.

There are 20 players leaving the Dragons, 12 heading from the door to Cardiff and nine to the Scarlets. Before the Ospreys confirm their numbers, it’s 41 players. There are those who are lucky enough to move straight to a new club, but this is not always the case.

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There has been an uncompromising elimination in Welsh rugby.

It is a time of year when uncertainty remains in the air and can haunt players who have to pay their bills like everyone else like a cloud. This means that it is also necessary to accept that this is an unpleasant reality of professional sport, not limited to Welsh rugby.

But there is a way to deal with things. The most important thing is to keep players informed in time, as this gives them a better chance of finding a new employer than other teams finish their teams for the following season.

This has been a source of great frustration lately, as players have found themselves being cut too late this year to do something about it. Dragons chairman David Buttress recently pointed to budget uncertainty as a reason why players were told so late but accepted: “We need to play our part and be better.”

Former Welsh rugby coach told WalesOnline: “We would tell the players in November and December. We didn’t tell anyone after January because we knew it would be hard for players to get a club. We wanted to give them the best possible chance.

“It’s not necessarily the best thing that can be done in terms of short-term results, because you can lose 40 percent of your locker room, but in the long run it’s the right thing to do.

“As hard as it is, you have to tell people as soon as you know it.” For you personally, it’s a killer if you’re looking at a player you know you can’t keep and sit with for a week or two.

“Once that decision is made, all you have to do is bring it in, be empathetic and explain why.”

“These are really hard conversations.” It’s awful to have them, but you have to have them. Telling people in May is crazy. “

The player, who was on the other side of the table, added: “You want to be informed as soon as possible so you can plan because you have to pay the bills. The most important thing is sincerity and that you have a reason.

“Because you can act accordingly and improve as a rugby player or as a person.” That honesty is vital.

“It’s definitely a worrying time, but it’s an integral part of the job. You get paid well for what you do, but sometimes you may not have a club. There are three other regions, so there are possibilities, but if these three regions do not suit you, it will be more difficult. “

Although all parties accept that it is sometimes a necessary evil and players go into their careers with their eyes open, it can still shock the news. And the coaches are not losing the seriousness of the situation either.

Younger players may find another club, but for those with a slightly older age profile, this may be the end of their career and lifestyle as they know it.

The coach added: “My boys broke down in my office. When I told some players, they knew it was the end for them as a professional rugby player and that’s a big deal to take. It’s their dream.

“Some players are not ready for life after rugby. If they earn £ 50,000 as a professional rugby player, then they may need to start a new career with £ 25,000, so you take their livelihood, a standard of living.

“But at the end of the day, it’s a professional sport and you have to try to get the best talent your resources can afford.”

This concern is not uncommon either. It’s something most players will have to face every 18 months. Contracts are usually given for two years, so one year is an absolute guarantee and then anxiety starts to creep up at the beginning of the last year of the contract.

“That’s how rugby is brutal,” the player joked.

Although the breakup is often friendly, if handled properly, there is a “trap” that some coaches can get into and that blindly offers players references no matter what their actual rating of an individual is. In that case, honesty is the best policy again.

“I would always tell the players that I will not refer to someone who does not guarantee it,” the coach said. “Some people say it’s too honest, but it’s better for them to know they shouldn’t.” tell another coach to call me for reference.

“Because either you become a liar or you tell the truth and then it goes back to your locker room through an agent.”

Agents will always work in the background, trying to find opportunities for their players if it looks like there will be no new deal at their current club. But it is not possible to commit to new things unless you know that your current situation is definitely coming to an end.

So what do the agents think about the situation?

A player’s representative recently told WalesOnline: “People think that playing rugby is fun in every way, but it’s not. The hard reality for every professional rugby player is that the standard contract is for two years. This means that effectively the player finds himself in search of a new job once every 18 months. There is crippling uncertainty.

“It’s not in line with other areas of life.” If you learn your craft or go to college and get another qualification, you may be looking for better opportunities, but in rugby, no matter how good or bad you are, you know that in a few years you run the risk of being considered redundant requirements. and a lot of time due to circumstances you can’t control.

“In this respect, it’s the same for the British and Irish lions as it is for academic players who are worried that they will be able to continue their careers.”

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