Sam Warburton, the centrally contracted Wales captain who finds himself in the uncomfortable position of symbolising the dispute between the country’s governing body and its four professional teams, does not have the foggiest idea whether he will be playing for Cardiff Blues in their final warm-up match of the summer against Leicester at Welford Road on Friday.
“Nothing is final until the ink is on the paper,” said the Newport-Gwent Dragons director of rugby, Lyn Jones, referring to negotiations over a new participation agreement between the union and the regions. “And moving forward, we don’t know the detail. As head coaches, we are generally the people who deal with the fallout from these agreements and it’s a difficult job when you have to win competitions while producing talent for Wales. There are a lot of people to satisfy.
“We’re a small nation and, if we want to challenge for the World Cup, we have to be smarter than other countries. It’s about bringing our abilities together to create a vision and a plan, and then implementing it. Sadly, we haven’t been doing that for the last five or six years.”
England will prepare in the familiar surroundings of the Pennyhill Park country hotel in Bagshot when the home World Cup begins this time next year.
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