1. ITV Report

WRU announces 60-cap threshold for overseas based players

The WRU has introduced new rules to its player selection policy in an attempt to keep talent in Wales.

Wales Captain Warren Gatland. Credit: PA

Any player with a non-Welsh region will be eligible to play for Wales if they have more than 60 caps.

As the new 60-cap clause comes in, the former ‘wildcard’ system - also known as Gatland's Law- is removed, meaning no player with less caps will be selected for Wales if they play rugby outside of the country.

An exception to the rule is call ups for uncapped players currently contracted outside of Wales.

Rhys Webb is one of the latest players to announce he's leaving Wales. Credit: PA

Chief Executive of the WRU, Martyn Phillips says the decision to make these changes was to protect the ‘investment’ made by Welsh rugby.

The policy published in 2014 has played an important role in incentivising our rugby talent to remain in, or return to, our regional game.

But we have spent a significant amount of time with national team management and the regions evaluating its merits. Our role is to ensure that any selection policy is ‘fit for purpose’, achieves our collective aims and works for the greater good of the whole of Welsh rugby.

The revamped policy will be reviewed periodically but, fundamentally, if you have less than 60 caps and you leave Wales then you won’t be selected by your country again until you return.

– Martyn Phillips, Chief Executive, WRU

The new system allows players currently contracted outside of Wales to be selected during the term of their current deals.

Players, who have played 60 times or more for Wales, at a stage in their career where they want to move overseas won't be penalised in recognition of their input.

It is essential that we strive to constantly improve our all-round environment to ensure we do all we can to retain the current, and particularly the next, generation of internationals players in Wales, to secure both development and future performance for both our professional teams and the national side.

– Mark Davies, chief executive, Pro Rugby Wales