Wales to adopt the Wal­laby model

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page - ■ By PETER JACK­SON

WALES are pre­par­ing to in­tro­duce a con­tro­ver­sial new rule aimed at stem­ming the ex­o­dus of their in­ter­na­tional play­ers.

They are in talks about fol­low­ing Aus­tralia’s move and rec­om­mend­ing that any con­tracted play­ers with fewer than a spec­i­fied num­ber of caps will not be al­lowed to join a club out­side Wales.

Rhys Webb’s £1.7m move to Toulon next sea­son has given a new ur­gency to talks be­tween the WRU and their four re­gional teams.

TRP un­der­stands those talks cen­tre around the in­tro­duc­tion of a cap limit.

A rule bar­ring any Welsh in­ter­na­tional from leav­ing un­til he has played 60 Tests would have kept the 28-cap Webb with the Ospreys.

Had it been in op­er­a­tion, Taulupe Fale­tau would have been forced to de­lay his move from the Dragons to Bath.

Wales now seem likely to adopt the Wal­laby model – or a vari­a­tion of it – which ini­tially barred any player em­ployed out­side Aus­tralia from Test se­lec­tion. In­com­ing head coach Michael Cheka had that rule changed to al­low those who had ap­peared in a min­i­mum of 60 in­ter­na­tion­als in Aus­tralia be­fore leav­ing to be el­i­gi­ble.

That al­lowed Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell, then both at Toulon, to ap­pear in the last World Cup.

“The real­ity is that ‘Gat­land’s Law’, or what­ever you want to call it, isn’t work­ing,” a source told The

Rugby Pa­per. “The whole pur­pose of na­tional dual con­tracts is to keep the best play­ers in Wales but that’s not work­ing. Ev­ery­one is very con­cerned be­cause the fu­ture of the game is at stake.

“We have to find a way to make the se­lec­tion pol­icy work and one way is to make it clear to ev­ery player that un­less you’ve played a cer­tain num­ber of times for Wales, you can­not leave. That would be writ­ten into ev­ery con­tract as a con­di­tion of em­ploy­ment.”

‘Gat­land’s Law’ has re­peat­edly failed to de­liver on its ba­sic premise – that Welsh-based play­ers will be picked ahead of ri­vals earn­ing sub­stan­tially more at English and French clubs.

When they drew up the ‘Se­nior Player Se­lec­tion Pol­icy’ with the re­gions four sea­sons ago as part of the peace set­tle­ment, the WRU failed to put any cap limit in place. Had they done so, Test Lions like Ge­orge North, Jonathan Davies and Leigh Half­penny would have been barred from join­ing Northamp­ton, Cler­mont and Toulon.

Although Davies and Half­penny have since re­turned, Wales have lost more to mar­ket forces than they have re­cap­tured. Un­less they suc­ceed in per­suad­ing Ross Mo­ri­arty to sign a dual con­tract, he will be one of eight Welsh play­ers in Eng­land, along­side North, Big­gar, Fale­tau, Jamie Roberts, Liam Wil­liams, Luke Char­teris and To­mas Fran­cis with a ninth,Webb, in France.

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