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Gatland plays down Faletau fears

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Wales coach Warren Gatland says Taulupe Faletau would not be hampered by rules favouring home-based players over those playing elsewhere should the number eight join Bath.

Faletau has a year left on his Newport Gwent Dragons contract but it seems increasingly likely he will be bought out of that deal with Aviva Premiership club Bath keen to sign the British and Irish Lions forward.

It has been suggested that the 45-times capped Faletau moving to play his club rugby in England could present problems for the Wales coach under the so-called 'Gatland's Law', which will permit only two wildcard selections from those playing outside the country after this autumn's World Cup.

But Gatland, speaking at the final Wales press call before his squad depart for a pre-World Cup training camp in Switzerland was keen to set the record straight.

The regions argued for financial reasons that a player could be released from his contract and that's what has happened in this situation.

When clubs come looking for Toby and offer a significant transfer fee then it's a business decision for one of our regions to potentially sell that player on, because they are struggling financially.

So if Toby does leave he would be protected. He would be one of the players on that quota list because someone's come looking for him and it's not his decision to go.

– Warren Gatland, Wales coach

Dragons 26 - 22 Ulster

The Dragons made it a weekend clean sweep for the Welsh regions over Irish opposition, with a 26-22 win over Ulster at Rodney Parade.

After a tight first half, the Gwent region scored three second half tries, with Rhys Buckley, Jonathan Evans and Carl Meyers all crossing. Tom Prydie and Dorian Jones weighed in with eleven points from the boot.

The result sees the Dragons stay in touch with the Blues - just three points above them in the Pro12 table - and also did a favour for the Ospreys, who are vying with Ulster for a home play-off place come the end of the season.

And with the Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets also beating Irish team this weekend, it's a psychological boost for the national team ahead of their Six Nations encounter with the men in green next Saturday.


Dragons Smith undergoes surgery on broken jaw

Ashley Smith, Newport Gwent Dragons Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Newport Gwent Dragons centre Ashley Smith has undergone surgery after suffering a fractured jaw during last nights European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Bucharest Wolves.

Smith suffered the injury in the first minute of the 69 - 17 win at Rodney Parade.

The 27 year-old was assessed at the ground and then taken to hospital last night where he has undergone surgery to have plates put into his jaw this morning.

The region say their medical staff and doctors are currently monitoring him and will have a further update on his recovery in 2-4 weeks.

Warren Gatland set for OBE honour

Gatland has led Wales to two Grand Slams. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images

Warren Gatland is among those being honoured at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle today.

The 51-year-old New Zealander, who has been in charge of the Wales rugby union side since 2007, will be made an OBE.

After learning he had been selected for the honour for services to rugby, Gatland said in June that he was "absolutely over the moon".

Rugby player given three-year ban for using steroids

A rugby player has been suspended from all sport for three years for taking steroids.Christopher Edwards, 29, who plays for Tredegar in WRU League Two East, committed two violations for the possession and sue of anabolic steroids.

The UK Anti-Doping organisation says he committed two violations for the possession and use of anabolic steroids. He's been banned from all competition until April 2017.

Here, the panel recognised the player possessed and used a substance containing multiple anabolic steroids and this, combined with his failure to promptly admit the violations, has led to an aggravated suspension of three years.

– Graham Arthur, UK Anti-Doping

An investigation was launched after Mr Edwards offences were reported by a member of the public.


London Welsh return to Top Flight

Justin Burnell and his players celebrate their play-off victory Credit: PA photo

London Welsh have returned to the English Premiership after a year's absence, following a 28-48 aggregate win (20-21 on the night) over Bristol. Welsh's narrow win at the Memorial ground followed last week's home 27-8 victory.

The hosts had managed to reduce Welsh's aggregate lead to just eight points courtesy of tries from Andy Short, Mitch Eadie and Adam Hughes. But formers Blues fly half Nicky Robinson missed a possible 13 points in front of the posts, and two late scores from the visitors sealed a famous win.

It means London Welsh and their coach Justin Burnell - another graduate of Cardiff Arms Park - can begin preparing for life back in the top flight, a year after they were relegated.

England U20s 67 - 7 Wales U20s

Wales' Under 20s suffered a crushing defeat against their English counterparts. The home side outscored the visitors by ten tries to one, leading 38 nil at half time. Flanker Gus Jones crossed four times for England. A late penalty try and conversion was all Wales had to show for their efforts.


England: Taylor, Thacker (2), Jones (4), Kibirige, Lundberg, Itoje; Convs: Burns (6), Olver; Pen: Burns

Wales: Try: Penalty; Conv: Price.

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