Wales player exits alarms Scarlets coach Nigel Davies

Rhys Priestland and George North
Rhys Priestland and George North starred for Wales at the World Cup

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies has called for urgent talks between the regions and the Welsh Rugby Union over the player drain to foreign clubs.

Wales have lost James Hook, Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne to French clubs and Luke Charteris is the latest to be targeted by wealthy Top 14 clubs.

And Davies believes that the issue of central contracts should be put on the table to keep Welsh talent in Wales.

"It should be debated right now," insisted Davies.

"There are a couple of things - the regions have to be sustainable and we also have to hold on to our Welsh players and our best players.

"So how we do that needs to be seriously discussed because at the moment there are question marks over both quite frankly."

The regions have gone some way to secure some star players. The Dragons have signed up number eight Toby Faletau and the Scarlets have secured wing George North.

But Davies is conscious Wales cannot compete with the massive budgets of the French clubs if they want to keep the likes of North and Rhys Priestland long-term.

"We need to sit down and discuss it with the Welsh Rugby Union, the regions and the players to see how we move forward in a sustainable future with the game in Wales, which also enables us to look after and hold on our best Welsh talent," demanded Davies.

"You look at the budget of Castres for instance, it's at least three times our budget, so on a purely financial basis we can't [compete with French rugby].

"So we have to do things differently. We have to be smarter and we have to work together. There is money in Welsh rugby but we have to make sure we use it as efficiently and effectively as possible.

"First and foremost we took the strategic decision to sign our younger, rising stars. George [North] is one of them. So he is secured for the next couple of years.

"There are other elements to it. We try and create an environment here where people want to be part of it and that can help to a certain extent.

"But when you have someone offering you probably two or three times as much as we can offer in Wales it's going to be very difficult to hold on to these players. This is a fact of life.

"So it is a challenge for us and I don't think we will do it purely as regions or purely as a Welsh Rugby Union. We have to do it in a combined effort so that we are clear about how we do it and how we manage our finances."