WRU consider dual-contracts for Wales stars
March 30, 2012
Alex Cuthbert is one of several young Wales star being targeted by overseas clubs © Getty Images
Wales' Grand Slam winners could be offered bulked up deals part-funded by the Welsh Rugby Union in order to prevent them from being lured overseas, according to reports.
A host of Wales internationals already play in France and there are deep fears that the likes of Alex Cuthbert, George North and Sam Warburton could be tempted by big-money contracts on offer in the Top 14 and Aviva Premiership. Therefore WRU bosses are considering supplementing the contracts the players have with the struggling regions in what would effectively be dual-contracts.
The WRU and regions are awaiting a report into the finances of the Welsh game by Price Waterhouse Coopers and Walesonline says they will not go public with the plans until the findings are published. While IRB regulations safeguard the release of players for international fixtures, the WRU have less control over the welfare of foreign-based players and their participation in training sessions that fall outside the international windows. The WRU and regions are also eager to retain Wales' top talent in order to maximise interest and crowds for the domestic game.
If the WRU did supplement players' regional contracts then the governing body could gain greater access to the players and have more influence in how many games they play for their regions. While the regions have previously fought this issue, they are reportedly now ready to negotiate if it means being able to hold on to their best players.
Regional Rugby Wales chairman Stuart Gallacher said the subject would form part of scheduled discussions between the regions and the WRU after the publication of the Price Waterhouse Coopers report. "Everyone is aware that we are just about completing that review," said Gallacher told Walesonline. "When it is completed we will sit down with the WRU to discuss all facets of the professional game. That will include payments to players."
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