Wales will get 'best players on the park' says Gruff Rees

Jamie Roberts in action for Racing Metro against Montpellier in France
Wales centre Jamie Roberts joined French side Racing Metro from cardiff Blues in 2013
Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea Date: Friday, 8 May Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Live on Scrum V, BBC Two Wales and the BBC Sport website, and updates on BBC Radio Wales

Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees believes Wales' top players will still be picked for the national team even if they play their domestic rugby abroad.

The policy of favouring Wales-based players, dubbed 'Gatland's Law', has been called into question by Jamie Roberts' impending move to Harlequins.

"You can't cut your nose off to spite your face," Rees said.

"Jamie is a world-class player and... you've got to get your best players on the park."

If Roberts, 28, had opted to return to Wales from current French side Racing Metro, it was widely expected that the British and Irish Lions centre would rejoin Cardiff Blues.

But with Roberts seemingly heading for England, former Wales captain Gwyn Jones has said the WRU's stance over foreign-based players "has clauses".

Rees, who reiterated that Ospreys were never interested in signing Roberts themselves, said that in the current situation there was perhaps room for some of Wales' leading players to be based abroad.

"We're in the middle of a period where perhaps contractually or otherwise it's just about trying to build depth to the Welsh game," Rees said.

"So suddenly perhaps a pocket of two or three of your better players being elsewhere isn't a massive issue, as long as there's other players outstanding who can come through to the Welsh game."

However, Rees thinks things could change after the World Cup: "Hopefully the national dual-contracts can signify that players in Wales will be rewarded for being in Wales and selection may match that accordingly."

Ospreys, meanwhile, are preparing for Friday's match at home to Pro12 leaders Glasgow, as they bid for the chance to earn home advantage in the Play-off semi-finals.

Canada wing Jeff Hassler could return for the Welsh region after being out with a knee injury since November 2014.

Top Stories