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Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 17:26 GMT
Wales 'A' team cut approved
WRU group chief executive David Moffett
Moffett has introduced drastic cost-cutting measures
Wales have been given formal permission to pull their 'A' side out of this season's Six Nations championship.

The tournament's committee have agreed to the Welsh Rugby Union's request to allow them to withdraw from their fixtures.

The move is part of the cost-cutting exercise introduced by the WRU's newly appointed group chief executive David Moffett.

Six Nations acting chief executive John Feehan told BBC Wales Sport that the committee fully understood Wales' financial plight.

He added that the WRU will not face any punishment for pulling out.

I think it will have a detrimental effect on Welsh players

Former England 'A' coach Ged Glynn
"Wales have been quite clear in their position in relation to this year," said Feehan.

"But they are not saying that this is the case forever more. It's simply this year they're not in a poisition to have an 'A' side."

In the last two years, the 'A' team has cost the WRU more than 250,000 to run.

The team would have faced expensive trips to Italy, Scotland and France in the 2003 Six Nations.

Last season their only journeys were to Cork and Bristol, as Wales won four out of five matches under the coaching of Ebbw Vale's Mike Ruddock.

Ruddock said he would be "gutted" if the team was disbanded, but that he would understand if it was needed for the survival of Welsh rugby.

Ged Glynn, who coached England 'A' last season, believes Wales are making a huge mistake.

"It's a massive loss," he said. "We will miss the game against Wales enormously and I think it will have a detrimental effect on Welsh players.

"We had 14,000 and 9,000 people at the last two England-Wales A internationals in Wrexham and Bristol.

"The atmosphere was electric at both games.


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