Wales change selection policy for overseas-based players

Annette Crawford
October 16, 2017

"The new Senior Player Selection Policy will incentivise the majority of Welsh global talent, both potential and existing, to play their domestic rugby at one of the four Welsh regions", the Welsh Rugby Union said in a statement.

'This new policy is pretty much black and white, ' said head coach Warren Gatland.

Ross Moriarty, now at Gloucester, has a decision to make at the end of the season when his contract expires.

When asked about the change, WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips told ITV Sport: "Whatever contract that a player is in today, that contract is protected".

"When that contract expires, if the player has less than 60 caps and they are playing outside of Wales then they wouldn't be available for selection".

However, for players like Webb and Dan Biggar, they are both leaving at the end of the coming season so under the new circumstances they won't be eligible for Wales.

"But going back to the policy, we think this is a policy that is easier for people to understand and yes we know there is always going to be a bit of pain when you put things in place, there's going to be a bit of ambiguity, one or two players that might get caught up in the crossfire so to speak but we've potentially got to work through that, take a hit on that and hopefully that fits objective in terms of what we're trying to do".

Speaking to reporters after their AGM, Welsh RU chairman and former worldwide fly-half Gareth Davies said: "We've been very busy boys over the last six months talking to various people, and we are making progress".

'For me as a national coach if I was being perfectly selfish would I have a policy?

"The revamped policy will be reviewed periodically but, fundamentally, if you have less than 60 caps and you leave Wales then you won't be selected by your country again until you return".

The previous policy was created to keep players in Wales but it did not work, with prominent names now in the Premiership including George North, Liam Williams, Jamie Roberts and Taulupe Faletau. If they 60 or more caps and they are outside Wales they would be'.

'The existing policy worked to an extent but it has not worked well enough, ' he added. It was quite complicated. "We have tried to step back and say: "let's try to simplify this" make it understandable for players, for supporters and try and give each of the five entities [four regions and Wales] access to the players they need".

Any uncapped players will be considered for selection, providing the next contract that they sign is with one of the four Welsh regions, meaning that Bath's Max Clark would remain in contention for Wales as he is yet to commit to either England or Wales despite representing the former at youth level.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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