Breaking down Wales' new selection policy for overseas based players

Warren Gatland will sign off as Wales coach after the 2019 World Cup
Credit
PA

Under the policy - which takes effect immediately - only players with at least 60 caps, or who started a contract before the rule came in, would be considered for the national team if they ply their trade outside of Wales.

"But if Gatland pays, it will require a certified cheque".

This week the WRU announced a major change to its senior worldwide selection policy (SPSP) for players based outside Wales.

Biggar has 56 caps but he is likely to hit the 60-mark this season, with Wales having four autumn Tests and then a Six Nations campaign.

"Unfortunately, it's something I'm not 100% comfortable with", Gatland told BBC Sport Wales.

The scrum-half's 26-cap Wales career is set to end when he moves to France, after the Welsh Rugby Union changed its selection policy to exclude players overseas who have won less than 60 caps.

"It's a real blow", he said.

That means from next season he will not qualify to play for Wales if he goes through with the deal.

"It was a decision about his future".

The introduction of this new policy means the previous one - nicknamed "Gatland's law" has been scrapped.

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An exception to the rule is call-ups for uncapped players now contracted outside of Wales - to keep their eligibility a newly capped player will be required to return to Wales at the expiration of their deal.

"If Warren Gatland wants to pay the clause to release him, no worry".

Wales head coach Gatland said: "For me as a national coach, if I was being perfectly selfish, would I have a policy?"

"I have given ten years service to the Ospreys and Welsh rugby and have picked up injuries along the way".

The WRU will only select overseas based players if they have made 60 Test appearances or more for their country. They saw Wales' top players offered a combined deal between the union and region, allowing for a larger, more competitive offer in the face of approaches from England and France.

Other players who the ruling does not effect as they are now under contract for their English club sides include fly-half Owen Williams (Leicester), tighthead Tomas Francis (Exeter), fullback Liam Williams (Saracens) and flanker Ross Moriarty (Gloucester).

"Whatever contract that a player is on today, that contract is protected", said Philipps.

He says the existing policy didn't work well enough and was "quite complicated".

That could weaken Wales in the short term, or force the trio to reconsider their club plans in order to further their global careers, which would also strengthen the local game.

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