WALES' top players have demanded "real change" in the professional game after reports of further pay cuts.

In April the squads at the four regions – the Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues – agreed to 25 per cent reduction in their wages.

The Professional Rugby Board, representing the quartet and the Welsh Rugby Union, reached the three-month agreement with the Welsh Rugby Players' Association.

With the Guinness PRO14 still suspended because of the coronavirus crisis, it has been mooted that the top players will be asked to continue their pay cuts because of the financial impact on the pro game.

That has prompted a strong response from the WRPA.

Western Telegraph:

"For a number of years, the struggles of the regional game in Wales have been well documented," read a statement.

"Attendances have continued to suffer, and long-term financial sustainability is, and was a major issue long before COVID-19 accelerated the crisis.

"This is against a backdrop of political manoeuvring, mismanagement and issues around trust and transparency across the professional landscape.

"This has often meant that players have not always been treated fairly and are often at the brunt of fall out in the game.

"In moments of crisis, change is often needed, and the players are determined to be part of a positive change in the game.

"As they have demonstrated previously, the players have made sacrifices to protect immediate threats to rugby.

"However, they feel that now is the time for change and the players would like to work with all stakeholders to find sustainable solutions for the good of the sport."

The WRU has warned of a severe financial hit because of the loss of Test rugby, with fixtures set to be played behind closed doors if they get the green light.

The regions, meanwhile, are faced by a loss of income from season tickets, sponsorship and potentially broadcast revenue.

The PRO14 recently completed a deal with CVC that will see the governing body receive around £30million but chairman Gareth Davies said that sum must not be wasted.

Western Telegraph:

"The investment received is most welcome but the onus is now on those in receipt to behave responsibly whilst in its possession, proceed with a finely balanced mix of ambition and also caution and, above all, spend wisely and with the future in mind," said the former Dragons chief executive.

The WRPA state that its members won't take a hit only for the professional game to return to how it operated before the pandemic.

"In relation to reports of pay cuts, it is important to remember that players have families, dependents, mortgages and very short careers," it read.

"The WRPA is acutely aware of the significant financial losses reported, and if pay cuts were requested the players would want to understand how these savings would relate to a long-term financial solution, given the historical issues in the regional game.

"The players remain open to how they can support the viability of the game in Wales, but it would be fruitless for players to make further sacrifices only for the game to return to the issues that existed before Covid-19.

"We support the WRU exploring whether a global season at international level is good for the game and at the same time consider it vital that the opportunity is grasped to create a better future for the regional game here in Wales."

The Dragons have been represented by stalwart Lewis Evans and Scarlets-bound centre Tyler Morgan on the WRPA.