Rugby Union

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Rhys Webb reacts to WRU's new selection policy for the national team

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A number of Welsh rugby internationals have seen their international career prospects evaporate as the Welsh Rugby Union changed its selection criteria last week.

Previously, the coach could select up to four players plying their trade outside of Wales under 'Gatland’s Law' however, as part of the new ruling only players who have 60 caps for the country can be picked if they play their club rugby elsewhere.

Whilst it won’t affect Welsh stars like George North and Luke Charteris – it could impact Saracens full-back Liam Williams, Bath's Rhys Priestland, Exeter prop Thomas Francis and Gloucester centre Owen Williams.

Arguably the biggest name whose plans have been seriously scuppered is scrum-half Rhys Webb, who currently has just 28 international caps.

Having already agreed to sign for Toulon from 2018, Webb is understandably angry that his chances of playing for Wales have been shattered.

"I don't know how long it's going to take me to get over it,” the Osprey said, as per The Mirror.

"It's a joke. I'm disappointed.

“Representing your country means so much to me and being told I won't be able to play for them is heart-breaking.

“I made my mind up on the basis that the policy was the wildcard system. No-one had mentioned it was going to change.

Highlanders v British & Irish Lions

"I signed for Toulon on the basis if I was playing well I could still be considered.

“It was still such a tough decision.

“I felt I had to speak to the Ospreys face to face. It was heart-breaking to tell them."

It is the lack of warning which cuts deepest for Webb, who also featured for the Lions during the tour of New Zealand in the summer.

He also revealed that he had spoken to the WRU before agreeing the move to France and admitted he didn't feel as if his value was being reflected in his salary.

RUGBYU-6NATIONS-FRA-WAL

"No-one had told me [about the policy change]. Not even the Ospreys had mentioned it when I went to see them," Webb added.

"I listened to the offer from the WRU and I didn't feel they were valuing me with the right offer. I felt I was being devalued.

"The Toulon offer was one I couldn't turn down. It was a dream come true to play for a club like that. Their history in European rugby speaks for itself. These chances don't come round often."

"I probably would have liked someone to come and explain to me how I'd been captured. It's baffling. I'm very disappointed with Welsh rugby right now.

"I won't be doing that. My future lies in Toulon."

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Topics:
Six Nations
Wales Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup
Rugby Union

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