Scarlets: Ken Owens admits rugby row frustrates players

Scarlets hooker Ken Owens says players are frustrated by the continued failure of the Welsh Rugby Union and regions to reach an agreement over domestic rugby.

A contract between the governing body and the four regions ended on 31 June and no new deal has been announced.

The 27-year-old international admits it is a talking point for players with the season less than a month away.

"There is obviously discussion because it's all we're hearing about at the moment," he said.

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It is frustrating from a player's point of view because we can't really influence it

Ken Owens

"It is frustrating from a player's point of view because we can't really influence it.

"We've just got to leave it in the hands of the people at the top and they'll make a decision on what's best for Welsh rugby. Hopefully it can get sorted soon and we can all get back to talking about the rugby."

Wales second row Luke Charteris has said that the lack of a deal swayed his decision to remain in France rather than accept an offer to return to the Newport Gwent Dragons.

The WRU and Regional Rugby Wales - the body that represents the Dragons, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets - are currently in discussions over a new contract called the Rugby Services Agreement.

The deal would govern part of the funding of the regions and the release of players for Wales internationals and national training squads.

If a deal is not reached, the regions would not be obliged to release players for the Test against South Africa on 29 November which falls outside the International Rugby Board's Test match window.

Owens, who won his 26th Wales cap and scored a try in the 31-30 defeat against South Africa in June, hopes the row will be settled long before player release becomes an issue.

"It's completely out of the players' control at the moment and we hope that a resolution can be found and the players aren't going to end up in that difficult situation," he added.

"The focus is taken away from rugby.

"At this time of the year we should all be getting excited about the new season and how the regions are going to do, how the Welsh squad can compete against the southern hemisphere sides.

"The sooner we can get talking about the rugby the better."