Welsh Rugby Union statement

The Welsh Rugby Union seeks to clarify and correct an unfair and damaging allegation which has been placed in the public domain regarding the operational procedures within the senior Wales national squad.

Widespread reporting and debate has been instigated during recent days following inaccurate statements made by the Head Coach of the Newport Gwent Dragons.

The WRU believes it is important to correct the errors implicit in the debate now in an attempt to limit the damage being inflicted on the professional management concerned.

The inaccurate premise of the debate is that at least one and possibly two Dragons players were physically damaged when they attended a prearranged Wales squad screening day on Monday, January 3 at the WRU National Centre of Excellence.

The incorrect claim made by the Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner is that players Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau were tested which resulted in Lydiate being injured and Faletau being impaired.

The Welsh Rugby Union seeks to point out the following:-

All the players who attended the screening day were checked by the squad’s professional staff and a significant number were deemed to be suffering from injuries which meant they were unable to take part in any elements of the session.

Dan Lydiate was medically screened and immediately declared unfit. He did not take any further part in the testing.

Toby Faletau completed one test of the five arranged for the day. It involved an aerobic check which required him to run for 125 seconds over a circuit of 450 metres.

It is the view of the Wales national squad professional staff that an elite athlete should not be impaired, nor should his preparation be affected, by running for 125 seconds several days before any scheduled game.

The screening day did not involve physical contact and was designed, primarily, to review the strength and conditioning levels of players before the RBS 6 Nations Tournament which begins on February 4.

The day was scheduled following discussions with all four Regional organisations and the originally agreed day of the event was changed to facilitate operational requirements raised by the Regional organisations.

Screening days are common practice for all international squads and involve players who are under consideration for selection.

At least one other UK international rugby squad management team hosted a two day training and screening event during the same week as the Wales screening day.

Screening days have been held by the Wales senior squad before previous tournaments without any debate terming them “controversial.”

The Welsh Rugby Union will raise the issue of the inaccurate comments and the debate about the screening day through the Management Board of the WRU and the four Regional organisations.

The WRU Wales team management will continue to arrange and host screening days and will continue to liaise with the relevant personnel at the four Regional organisations and other club teams when arranging screening days.

The WRU is considering its position in relation to the inaccurate and damaging comments that have been made publicly about the senior Wales national squad screening day.

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