Wales Could Be Without A Number Of Premiership Based Players For Springboks Test
This could get messy.
The Autumn International Series is officially over, with the window now shut. Wales however, have an extra Test scheduled this weekend with the Springboks and find themselves in a tricky situation.
Premiership Rugby does not allow non-English players to play Test games outside of the window. While this was waived last for Wales’s clash with Australia and other internationals the same weekend “as a gesture of flexibility, Premiership Rugby stressed it was a “one-off”.
A spokesman for the organisation yesterday stated that the policy would be enforced this weekend. Northampton Saints were hit with a £60,000 fine after releasing George North to face Australia in a 2013, and similar sanctions could follow this weekend if players are released.
So far only Toby Faletau has joined up with Wales, with Bath set to deal with the consequences due to a clause in Faletau’s contract. North was released for the same reason last time round by the Saint.s
As for other Welsh players, it appears Rhys Priestland, Tomas Francis, Owen Williams and Jamie Roberts may not be released by their respective clubs.
A Wales team spokesman refused to comment on the matter until “the time is right”.
Gatland said last Saturday evening:
“I will need to talk to them and see what the position is with all those players that are involved at the English clubs.”
Wales have a number of injury concerns with lock Jake Ball (shoulder) almost certainly out of the autumn finale, while there are doubts over scrumhalf Rhys Webb (concussion), centre Scott Williams (ankle) and prop Samson Lee (achilles).