WRU to move top stars to England?
January 5, 2014
Welsh stars Halfpenny, Warburton and Jones would be top of WRU's list for contracts © WRU
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is considering a plan to sign six key international players and loan them to Aviva Premiership clubs, according to The Rugby Paper.
In the latest twist to the worsening Welsh rugby civil war the WRU is considering a contingency plan which would see Lions captain Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Rhys Priestland and Scott Williams signed to central deals allowing them to play for English clubs on a loan deal. The plan was revealed when the players' agents were asked where their clients would be playing rugby next season.
This would raise the prospect of more Wales stars following in the footsteps of the likes of Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips and George North and appear for non-Welsh clubs. The WRU's mooted plans to move players across the border would aim to keep them match-fit for Wales duty and receive competitive action without continuing the exodus to France.
The plans have been met with dismay by leading regional figures, with Cardiff Blues chairman Peter Thomas accusing WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis of attempting to 'destroy the regions'.
"I am appalled they are even considering such a thing," he told The Rugby Paper.
"What kind of a message does this send to all the fans and all the young kids who want to watch their heroes play here in Wales? There is a desire within the WRU but there is no appetite for the regions to work with Roger Lewis. We have no confidence in him.
"His agenda is to destroy the regions and take complete control. Unfortunately for him, he has picked a fight with the wrong guys. As far as the regions are concerned, there's no turning back."
An unnamed leading regional figure also told the paper: "To be told that the WRU is considering allowing top Welsh players to play on loan in England is positively shocking. We have had this information from two sources. There's no doubt it's been suggested."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery
"England remind me of a PlayStation rugby team," John Mitchell on tactics and the search for a first-choice fly-half ahead of the World Cup
Augustine Pulu will return home with little more than 20 minutes rugby in one month on tour. It is time for more midweek games writes Craig Dowd