Change in Wales’ selection policy may not counter foreign attractions, says Ospreys’ Tandy
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy says a change in Wales’ selection policy might not stop players from playing abroad.
Tandy will lose Wales halfbacks Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar to Toulon and Northampton, respectively, next season. The Welsh Rugby Union is considering adapting its senior player selection policy (SPSP) to allow more senior players based outside Wales to play.
“When you see the amount of money bandied about, it’s still difficult... to compete with that,” said Tandy.
The WRU policy, nicknamed ‘Gatland’s Law’, permits only four players at clubs outside Wales to play for the national side for the next two seasons. The quota is due to drop to just two wildcard picks for the 2019-20 season, but further changes could occur.
In Australia, players who have won at least 60 Test caps and played domestic rugby for seven years can be selected regardless of any move abroad, though this might not be the new Wales model.
“There will be elements you can tweak and it has to be right for the Welsh and regional game,” said Tandy. “There is a balance and talks are going on but, with regards to the selection policy, it might be easier to keep some of the younger players. When you are talking about the amounts of money now, the boys who are coming to the senior end of the international window, it’s difficult to compete with that.”
Tandy admits Ospreys could not compete with the offers from French and English clubs for Webb and Biggar.
“There is nothing you can do. “It is hard to take, because they are home-grown boys. You see the strain on their faces when they tell you they are leaving. When you dig down, it is obvious we can’t compete with these moves.
“Six years ago, we had more money to spend on players than we do now and wages have skyrocketed. In the time we have been here, we have lost 30 players and had £2m taken off the wage bill, and gone through cycles of moving senior players on. We are in the bottom half of funding. If you try to keep those players [Webb and Biggar] on stand-alone contracts, you are significantly hitting your overall budget.”