SALAH AND CO PILE ON THE AGONY FOR BLUE­BIRDS

...BUT PROP STAR TO­MAS WILL STILL BE EL­I­GI­BLE FOR WALES

Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ALEX BYWATER Rugby writer sport@waleson­line.co.uk

TO­MAS Fran­cis will stay at Ex­eter Chiefs and also con­tinue to play for Wales next sea­son. Tight­head prop Fran­cis is out of con­tract at Sandy Park at the end of the cur­rent cam­paign and it had been widely ac­cepted he would join one of Wales’ four re­gions af­ter next year’s World Cup.

Fran­cis, 26, has 33 caps for Wales and falls well short of the 60 caps needed to play club rugby out­side of Wales and also still star at in­ter­na­tional level.

With that in mind, it was ex­pected he would join a Welsh side in a bid to con­tinue play­ing Test rugby. Howev- er, it is now un­der­stood that Fran­cis will take up the of­fer of a sec­ond con­tract ex­ten­sion at Ex­eter – one which the WRU say formed part of his orig­i­nal deal – and stay with Rob Bax­ter’s men.

It means he won’t be head­ing back over the Sev­ern Bridge.

Fran­cis joined Ex­eter from Lon­don Scot­tish in 2014. He won his first Wales cap against Ire­land in Au­gust 2015.

In July 2016 he took up the of­fer of a con­tract ex­ten­sion with Ex­eter, but the fact he is set to sign an­other op­tion with the Chiefs rather makes a mock­ery of the WRU’s 60-cap rule.

Asked about the fu­ture of Fran­cis, Ex­eter di­rec­tor of rugby Bax­ter re­mained coy.

He said: “We are in an on­go­ing process of talk­ing with all of our front-line play­ers who are off con­tract at the end of the sea­son.

“You al­ways want to have a cou­ple of de­cent tight­head props on your books, don’t you?

“If you can keep hold of play­ers like that then that’s half the bat­tle some­times.”

Fran­cis has been keen to stay at Ex­eter – un­sur­pris­ingly so given their re­cent suc­cess – and this deal is a per­fect fit for the player who can also now re­main part of Wales’ set-up for the long term. PRO14 ac­tion: See Sport on Sun­day

Ex­eter and Wales prop To­mas Fran­cis

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.