WRU clarify selection policy for senior players

The Welsh Rugby Union’s Senior Player Selection Policy (SPSP), designed to maximise the number of Welsh professional players, playing in Wales, will be applied in 2016/17 season.

Three ‘wildcard’ selections will be available per campaign.

Part of the Rugby Services Agreement (RSA) between the WRU and the Regions, the policy aims to ensure the majority of our professional players, play in Wales, which is fundamental to the short and long term health of the game.

Martyn Phillips Welsh Rugby Union Group Chief Executive commented: “The RSA is the foundation of our professional game in that it is the basis on which we collaborate with the Regions to ensure we make decisions that are in the best interests of the game as a whole and for a broad range of stakeholders.

“We want to create the best environment possible for the players. Having our best players in Wales will help the Regions to be successful and their presence will inspire the next generation of supporters and players. We know that supporters want to see the best players playing on a regular basis.

“Players based in Wales will benefit as, together with the Regions, we can manage the players game time, development and welfare.  We can work closely on player release and have our younger players learning from more experienced professionals. We know that coaches also value regular and easy access to players.

“With three ‘wildcard’ selections available for each campaign during the 2016/17 season decisions will have to be made on selection.  Players have been aware that there would come a point, if they left or signed new contracts outside Wales, that the policy would impact on selection.”

“We are aware that supporters may be concerned that we will not be selecting from a full list of players, but the alternative where players increasingly play outside Wales isn’t sustainable for the long-term success of our game whether that be professional or community rugby.

“Clearly the player ultimately has the choice but we will do all we can to ensure that playing in Wales gives the player the best professional rugby experience possible.

“With the likes of Jonathan Davies, Bradley Davies, Matthew Morgan and Dan Lydiate returning to play their club rugby in Wales, and the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb choosing to stay in the light of the policy, we believe this is a strategy that will promote the long term health of the game.”

The following seven players are captured for the 2016/17 season:
Dominic Day, Taulupe Faletau, George North, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts, Nicky Thomas and Rhodri Williams

There are three wildcard selections available for each Wales campaign during the 2016/17 season from the seven names listed above.

Wales’ squad for the 2016 end-of-year Tests, which kicks off against Australia in Cardiff on November 5, will be announced on Tuesday, October 18.