Change in Wales’ se­lec­tion pol­icy may not counter for­eign at­trac­tions, says Ospreys’ Tandy

Irish Examiner - Sport - - CHAMPIONS CUP -

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.”

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