Warren Gatland has emphasised the importance of prioritising family to his players after sharing that one of his team members has been struggling with the passing of their grandmother.
The Wales coach has been handling the aftermath of the contracts dispute, which has caused anxiety and pressure for the players regarding their future in the sport.
Despite the expected pay cuts, Gatland has encouraged his players to seek help and support from him, especially during difficult personal circumstances.
He disclosed that one player recently confided in him about the passing of their nan and the stress their father was experiencing, highlighting the significance of having a support system during tough times.
He said: “I think there’s no doubt that there must be some stress on people in terms of the future and what’s happening back at the regions. It puts a lot of stress on a lot of people involved.
“One of the things that is massive for me is family. I had a player last week, who I had a chat with and said ‘you haven’t really trained that well’. And he said, ‘I wish I could come to you, my nan’s passed away and my father has been under stress’. And yeah, I wish he’d come to me.
“Those are the things that were important to me. So we could have helped out and got people to help move and clear the house out and take the stress off and the pressure off him that he was under.
“It’s making sure that I deliver those messages continually to the players about us being here to support them from a family perspective. And obviously being here to support them with the stress and the pressure they’re under at the moment and trying to make it as easy as we possibly can.”