CHRIS KIRWAN: Wales must take absences on the chin if they keep ignoring the Test window

South Wales Argus: SET TO MISS OUT: Owen Williams looks likely to miss Wales' trial game even if Leicester don't make the Aviva Premiership final SET TO MISS OUT: Owen Williams looks likely to miss Wales' trial game even if Leicester don't make the Aviva Premiership final

THE HORSE hasn't just bolted when it comes to warning Wales players about the pitfalls of playing for English clubs, it's long been turned into glue.

Warren Gatland is faced by the prospect of being without six players – Bath's Paul James and Gavin Henson, Northampton's George North, Leicester's Owen Williams, Saracens' Rhys Gill and Bristol's Ryan Jones – for his pre-South Africa trial game.

With his probables versus possibles encounter looking likely to descend into farce, the New Zealander is finally threatening to close the stable door.

"If they are not involved it makes it difficult for us to select them. And, going forward, we might potentially have to review the policy of picking English-based players if they are not available to us," he warned.

"It's something we are going to have to look closely at, particularly at the end of the season when they are preparing for tours. We would like players to stay in Wales.

"Only picking players playing in Wales is a policy we could look to implement but we can't at the moment with the number of players that have left."

Wales could have given the regions a boost years ago if they had followed England by properly enforcing a rule that to play for your country you must play in it.

Stuart Lancaster has been harmed by not having Toulon's Steffon Armitage in his squad but the all-action flanker's absence is a useful deterrent to those tempted by Top 14 contracts.

It will always be hard to match the big bids made by the French clubs but a combination of a funding model that benefits those providing Wales players PLUS a proper enforcement of selecting from within your own borders would provide a competitive offer and food for thought.

Of course, Gatland and his WRU bosses could just accept that if they arrange games outside of IRB Test windows then they will not be able to select all of their players without paying for the privilege.

Rather than pleading for goodwill they must take it on the chin.

Comments (3)

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10:51am Thu 15 May 14

The People's Republic of Newp says...

What more can they expect?

Smacks of arrogance at best, and more downright amateur WRU administration of the game at worst.

But what do we really expect from an institution frantically paying over the mortgage at an unnecessarily brisk pace, while sending the kids to bed with the grumblings of hunger in their tummies?

The WRU's management of its 'estate' is positively Rachman-like: it continues to disregard the needs of the very outfits (at all levels... pro, semi-pro and below) that produce the players which permit them to put on their 10-times-yearly jamborees.
What more can they expect? Smacks of arrogance at best, and more downright amateur WRU administration of the game at worst. But what do we really expect from an institution frantically paying over the mortgage at an unnecessarily brisk pace, while sending the kids to bed with the grumblings of hunger in their tummies? The WRU's management of its 'estate' is positively Rachman-like: it continues to disregard the needs of the very outfits (at all levels... pro, semi-pro and below) that produce the players which permit them to put on their 10-times-yearly jamborees. The People's Republic of Newp
  • Score: 4

12:25pm Thu 15 May 14

Surrey Taff says...

"Only picking players playing in Wales is a policy we could look to implement but we can't at the moment with the number of players that have left."

Well if the WRU had fully implemented the so called 'Gatland's Law' when they had the chance 4 years ago then we wouldn’t have this issue Warren!

Gatland and WRU only have themselves to blame on this i'm afraid.
"Only picking players playing in Wales is a policy we could look to implement but we can't at the moment with the number of players that have left." Well if the WRU had fully implemented the so called 'Gatland's Law' when they had the chance 4 years ago then we wouldn’t have this issue Warren! Gatland and WRU only have themselves to blame on this i'm afraid. Surrey Taff
  • Score: 5

5:55pm Thu 15 May 14

Thor at the door says...

gatland is a bit of a wally. Look how he treated popham..... ignorant and arrogant, typical kiwi, thinks the world revolves around him!
gatland is a bit of a wally. Look how he treated popham..... ignorant and arrogant, typical kiwi, thinks the world revolves around him! Thor at the door
  • Score: 1

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