Welsh exodus could leave 'scar' on domestic game
December 11, 2013
Ryan Jones is hopeful more of Wales' top players will stay in the country © PA Photos
Wales No.8 Ryan Jones has admitted he is "tired" of seeing the country's top players being linked with move abroad.
The regions meet with the Welsh Rugby Union today as they attempt to thrash out a new participation agreement which includes extra funding for deals to keep the country's top players within the regional system.
At present, a number of Wales' top players are out of contract come the end of the season with Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny both heavily linked with a switch to France. For Jones, he feels more needs to be done to make staying in Wales an attractive proposition.
"We've got to be competitive financially and we've got to offer above and beyond to keep our best players," Jones told the BBC. "The stars of tomorrow need to be watching the stars of today.
"They need to be playing in teams with the likes of George [North], Leigh [Halfpenny] and Sam [Warburton]. I'm tired of it and I know the other players here are tired of it and so are the Welsh public. The sooner this is resolved, the better. My worry is it's going to leave a scar on the domestic game which is going to take a while to heal."
One suggestion to help liven up the Welsh regional game is for the Blues, Scarlets, Ospreys and Dragons to join the Aviva Premiership. ESPN's John Taylor feels this suggestion is little more than "pie in the sky" , but Jones is a supporter of the concept.
"I've said for years a British league would be absolutely fantastic," Jones added. "I don't understand the nuts and bolts of it and all the intricacies but if I had my way that would be it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Jonny Wilkinson is the face of Toulon but whisper it, they might be a better team without him. Paul Eddison examines the case for dropping the talisman
"It does sometimes get tough as you get older, but there's nothing else I'd rather do." Tom Hamilton talks to fly-half Dan Carter
Stingers, a rampaging Fijian and two Dannys looking to be champions of the world - Monday Maul looks at some key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring