Friday, 26 August 2016

Welsh exiles set to miss out on autumn Tests - WRU chief Martyn Phillips

Rhys Priestland and Luke Charteris
Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips says high-profile Wales players will miss out on Test selection this autumn under the so-called Gatland's Law.
The rule means coach Warren Gatland can pick only three players who play their club rugby outside of Wales.
Phillips says some big names will have to miss out in order to be fair to Wales-based players.
"We would want to be loyal to them," he said.
"A big part of our philosophy is the players that have chosen to stay in Wales or come back to Wales need to be recognised for that.
"When it comes to picking the squad then I would imagine that some of the players who historically will have been picked won't be picked."
Wales' leading exiles v leading Wales-based rivals (as at 25 August, 2016)
BACKS Full-back: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) v Liam Williams (Scarlets) Wing: George North (Northampton) v Alex Cuthbert/Tom James (Cardiff Blues) & Eli Walker (Ospreys) Centre: Jamie Roberts v Jonathan Davies/Scott Williams (Scarlets) & Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons) Fly-half: Rhys Priestland (Bath) & James Hook (Gloucester) v Dan Biggar (Ospreys)/Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues)/Rhys Patchell (Scarlets).
FORWARDS Tight-head prop: Tomas Francis (Exeter) & Aaron Jarvis (Clermont Auvergne) v Samson Lee (Scarlets) Lock: Luke Charteris (Bath) v Alun Wyn Jones & Bradley Davies (Ospreys)/Jake Ball (Scarlets) Back-row: Taulupe Faletau (Bath) v James King (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) v Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Blues).
Gatland's side will host Australia, Argentina, Japan and South Africa at the Principality Stadium in November.
Taulupe Faletau, Jamie Roberts, George North, Rhys Priestland and Luke Charteris are among the players who play in England, while Leigh Halfpenny is with Toulon in France.
In August, 2014, the Welsh Rugby Union and Wales' four professional regions signed a £60m, six-year deal that settled a long-running dispute over the sport's future.
That deal included rules that mean players based outside Wales could be overlooked in favour of home-based talent, with Gatland expected to tighten selection policy.http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/800/cpsprodpb/64FB/production/_90915852_wru.jpg
Martyn Phillips (left) succeeded Roger Lewis as WRU chief executive following the 2015 Rugby World Cup
The policy ruled no player based overseas should represent Wales, although Gatland is able to make exceptions.
"It is quite complex because certain players had left Wales before the law arrived or before that policy arrived so it would have been unfair to pull the rug from under them," Phillips told BBC Radio Wales Sport.
"So what's happened is that policy has been unwinding over the last couple of years.
"We're now at the point where players are playing in clubs where they have chosen to be contracted and therefore the policy then starts to have an effect.
"The good thing for us for quite a while is more players have come back to Wales than have left and I think that's great."
Centre Jonathan Davies has rejoined Scarlets after two years in France with Clermont Auvergne and flanker Dan Lydiate moved to the Ospreys after a 17-month spell with Paris-based Racing.
National captain Sam Warburton, lock Alun Wyn Jones and fly-half Dan Biggar opted to sign national dual contracts rather than move to clubs outside Wales.
But Phillips, who succeeded Roger Lewis as WRU chief in 2015, is not in favour of restricting national team selection to domestic-based players such as is the case in England.
"I think there are certain players you get more from sometimes with a change of environment. Maybe if they can get out for a year or two, or experience a new set-up, it is good for the player," he added.
"And I think our duty is to try and help the player be as good as he could be. So I think a blanket [policy], I don't particularly subscribe to that.
"On the other side, to sort of say, 'look, play wherever you want, we'll pick you' doesn't work either because we want our supporters, our young players to be playing alongside the best players.
"If we want to attract and grow great coaches, they want to be coaching the best players."
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