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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 17:56 UK

WRU's High Court player-row win

Interview: David Moffett

The Welsh Rugby Union has won a High Court battle with Wales' four regions over the player-release row.

Wales coach Warren Gatland wanted the players in training from Monday ahead of the Saturday 8 November Test against South Africa, but the regions rebelled.

The WRU said: "Judge Havelock Allan QC recognised the Test match is the most important factor, not the politics."

Regions boss David Moffett said: "This causes a serious deterioration in relations between us and the WRU."

The row erupted on Scrum V earlier this month when Gatland revealed the regions had turned down his request for players to be released while the they were involved in EDF Energy Cup commitments.

The rumpus has rumbled on ever since with each side taking increasingly-entrenched stands, culminating in Friday's legal action.

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The WRU statement continued: "The court refused an application from the regions for leave to appeal."

"The judge explained his ruling is binding on the regions by virtue of the express terms of the participation agreement and also by virtue of their membership of the WRU.

"The WRU asked the High Court to rule on the issue after the regions continued to withhold their permission to release the players.

"The ruling means the squad will gather on Sunday evening at the team headquarters to be available for training on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week and for the entire five days of the week prior to the game."

Lewis, said: "Welsh rugby has right on its side and common sense has prevailed.

"This is a victory for the fans of Welsh rugby. Wales will face the world champions on 8 November and we have taken this action to ensure they have time to prepare properly for that historic encounter."

"Wearing the Welsh jersey is a huge responsibility for every man selected to play for Wales and we are obliged to ensure they have every opportunity to give of their best.

"This has been an unfortunate episode, but the court ruling justifies our contention that the request was just and we had right on our side.

Lewis hails 'common sense' ruling

"We will now put this matter behind us and focus on the priority of finalising the draft participation agreement document over the next few days."

Moffett, who was announced on Tuesday as the interim chief executive of newly-formed body Regional Rugby Wales, added: "As the judge stated, this interim ruling has no legal significance and does not set a legal precedent.

"This was a one-off decision . . . and has no legal value in future.

"The union had already initiated legal proceedings before they sat down with us, ignored IRB offers to mediate in the dispute and demanded player attendance at training on Monday before the case had even been heard.

"The players will, however be released for training on Monday, as per the instruction of the court."


see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
04 Sep 08 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Magners Celtic League
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union


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