Exeter ‘wanted £250k’ for Blues to sign Francis
WALES have abandoned plans to sign Exeter prop Tomas Francis because his club demanded a ‘silly’ transfer fee of £250,000.
The sum can be revealed as the stumbling block behind the Welsh Rugby Union’s joint bid with the Blues to bring the 25-yearold tighthead to Cardiff on a national dual contract.
“We were told by the player’s agent that Exeter would be prepared to release Francis,’’ a Blues source said. “We entered into joint discussions with the WRU and were given a silly number from Exeter for his transfer.
Stephen Jones’ late withdrawal as Wales attack coach for next month’s Tests against Tonga and Samoa has prompted widespread speculation over the reasons behind his decision.
Only last month Jones, Wales’ most-capped fly half, spoke in enthusiastic tones about the mission. “I’m excited and honoured to go with Wales. For me it’s an opportunity to learn and get better.’’
This week the Scarlets’ backs coach cited his team’s presence in the PRO12 play-offs which takes them to Dublin for a semi-final against Leinster on Friday. He said: “Reaching the play-offs means an extended season and increased workload. I can’t give my undivided attention for the tour.’’
The Scarlets qualified for the play-offs a month ago. Rather than pull out then, the timing of Jones’ announcement has raised questions.”