5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland Under-19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday week (December 14) has been announced.
Speaking in today's Irish Times newspaper, the IRFU's Chief Executive Philip Browne expressed his concern at the current situation: "In taking five weekends out of the Celtic League to facilitate playing in the Anglo-Welsh Cup the Welsh (Union) have ripped the heart out of it (the Celtic League). They have emasculated the Celtic League on the back of the Anglo Welsh Cup.
"They released another fixture document without addressing the fundamental issue of not playing on international weekends.
"Scotland simply does not have enough players to play then. We must have a meaningful Celtic League to make it commercially viable.
"Wales are claiming the nuclear option; accept our decision or else. Wales want to have the Powergen Cup on the three weekends leading up to the Heineken Cup in October and again when the competition resumes in December.
"This rips the heart out of the Celtic League and means that the Scottish and Irish would finish their seasons a week earlier than the Welsh.
"I'm not quite sure how we are going to resolve it (the impasse). There is no movement in Wales who have made the Anglo-Welsh Cup a priority and in doing so relegated the importance of the Celtic League. There will have to be some accommodation on both sides. We have no problems with them playing in the Powergen Cup, just the dates in question," added Browne.
"We have to create a professional season and we'd prefer that to involve a Celtic League at the centre of it."