Major change for Wales
Welsh stars who play outside Wales could jeopardise their international future under a new WRU ruling.
Last Updated: 24/01/08 11:27pm
Welsh stars who play outside Wales could jeopardise their international future under a new Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) ruling.
The WRU has approved new national coach Warren Gatland's controversial proposal designed to keep home-grown talent in Wales and boost regional rugby.
Gatland's preparations for the RBS Six Nations tournament have been hindered because players currently plying their trade outside Wales are only released by their clubs on Test weeks.
But under the new system players are expected to spend much more time with the national team squad, meaning those playing outside Wales could risk missing out.
A WRU spokesman said: "The strategy is aimed at making it clear to players the Wales coaching team regards access to players during and outside squad time as significant in their development, preparation and welfare.
"The confirmation of the WRU strategy will not initiate any changes to the current squad.
"This is seen as a positive boost for Wales and the regions because of the close liaison between the national coaching team and their regional counterparts.
"It will enable constant dialogue and access between coaches and players to ensure individuals are developing to their fullest potential at all times."
Fly-half Stephen Jones has agreed a new deal at Llanelli Scarlets and so will have no problems with eligibility. There are doubts over several other players though.
It all depends on how gradually the WRU decides to implement these changes, but Gloucester duo Gareth Delve and Gareth Cooper and Sale-bound Dwayne Peel could all potentially be at risk.