Gatland reassures Roberts


Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Jamie Roberts’ expected move to Harlequins will not prevent him playing for Wales, says national team coach Warren Gatland.

The Racing Metro centre is set to play in England’s Aviva Premiership after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the British and Irish Lions powerhouse having reportedly rejected a return to his former team Cardiff Blues.

That would see Roberts fall foul of the so-called ‘Gatland’s Law’ which favours Wales-based players for Test selection over those who choose to play elsewhere.

But Gatland told BBC Wales Sport on Thursday: “There’s not a hard and fast rule as there is with England.

“There are exceptions where players who have been playing outside of Wales and there are one or two wildcards we could pick.

“They do play outside of Wales but they could be selected, but I think the long-term goal is to have a policy where, ideally, we pick players who are playing in Wales.”

Roberts, 28, left the Cardiff Blues in 2013 but to complete the move to Harlequins he must first be released by French Top 14 club Racing Metro, where he has a contract until June 2016.

Gatland also confirmed the Welsh Rugby Union has withdrawn its offer of a national dual contract to Taulupe Faletau after he missed a deadline.

Number eight Faletau has a year left on his current Newport Gwent Dragons deal and has been linked with a move to Aviva Premiership club Bath.

The 24-year-old British and Irish Lion said changing his agent had “delayed” signing a dual contract, which would be co-funded by the WRU and the region.

“It was disappointing he didn’t sign a national dual contract,” Gatland told WalesOnline.

“It put me in a bit of a difficult situation when players and agents have been told a deadline.

“To go back on that when others have signed would not have been fair, we couldn’t make an exception.”

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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