COACH Rob Howley says Wales' Grand Slam-chasing players are frustrated by the uncertainty over the future of regional rugby.

Warren Gatland's men will head to Scotland a week on Saturday looking to record a 13th successive Test win and keep their Six Nations title challenge on track.

But captain Alun Wyn Jones and hooker Ken Owens were among a contingent of players that met with the Welsh Rugby Union at the start of this week to discuss changes to the professional game.

The four regions – the Dragons, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets – will continue as they are next season but the future is uncertain beyond that.

The WRU are keen to establish a professional side in the north with the number of teams in the south cut from four to three.

The Ospreys, Wales' most successful region, appear to be most at risk and on the eve of Wales' win against England there were talks about a possible merger of the Swansea-based side and Cardiff Blues.

South Wales Argus:

"I am quite saddened," said Howley. "I only heard it through the grapevine on Friday night and Saturday morning. It shows how much the players were task-orientated in the job they did against England.

"It's uncertain times, which is disappointing. There's a lot of frustration, not only for the best players in Wales but for their mates in the regions.

"There's an uncertainty about Project Reset and they would like to know where they are going to be playing next year or in two years. At this moment in time, that's a frustration and I agree with that frustration."

Senior figures of all four teams were present at the meeting between the governing body and the Welsh Rugby Players' Association.

It comes amid Wales' quest for a Grand Slam in Gatland's final Six Nations.

"It's not ideal but we respected the players' view they needed to find out information and garner as much as they can," said attack coach Howley.

"In terms of the trust and respect we have for our players, we believe it was an opportunity for the players to ask questions and listen, to find out information which might help their friends back in the regions understand what's going to happen in the next six to 12 months.

"It's a players' game and they give everything for their country. But, at this moment in time, you feel for the players who aren't here, who are in their regions, and have uncertainty whether they have got work next year or not."

South Wales Argus:

Dragons hooker Elliot Dee is under contract for next season but admits concern for his Rodney Parade teammates still waiting for the green light to sign fresh terms.

"The boys (in the Wales squad) have probably had it at the back of their minds but it hasn't affected us as a squad performance-wise or in training," said the 24-year-old from Newbridge, who came off the bench against France and England either side of his start in Italy.

"There is a lot of uncertainty of what is going to happen in the next few months and weeks, especially for players out of contract and looking to re-sign.

"But we have had to put that to one side – we know that we have a job to do and I think we have got on with it pretty well.

"Everyone is conscious and cares about their friends and teammates at their regions. We have that in the back of our minds but our main job is to train well, play well and get on with it."