Sam Warburton: Dual contracts 'will stop exodus' - Wales captain

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton made his first Cardiff Blues appearance of pre-season against Leicester Tigers

Wales captain Sam Warburton is confident new dual contracts will help stem the flow of talent leaving.

Home-based Test stars will be offered dual contracts as part of the new deal between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions.

In recent years the regions have seen internationals join clubs in England and France but Warburton believes the new agreement will halt the exodus.

"I think it will stop players moving across," the Blues flanker said.

"Ultimately players have to look after their livelihood and they want to achieve what their market value is when it comes to contracts.

"The dual contract will help top international boys achieve that.

"I can completely understand from a club's perspective how it's difficult by themselves to contract players, especially when they're only there for perhaps 50% of the year.

"The dual contract makes sense and I think it's great news."

Leigh Halfpenny,Jonathan Davies and Richard Hibbard became the latest Wales players to depart during the summer as the Welsh rugby dispute continued.

Key points of the new deal
WRU increases regions' funding from £6.7m to £8.7m
Top home-based Test stars to be offered dual contracts
Wales coach Warren Gatland to decide who is offered dual deals, with those players to become WRU employees
Home-based players to be favoured in Wales selection
The £8.7m includes £2m set aside for dual contracts, with regions adding another £1.3m a year
Wales A games to return from January, 2015

The Welsh Rugby Union and four regions - Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets - finally signed a six-year agreement in August to end nearly two years of a fraught dispute over funding.

The agreement, until 2020, means a minimum of six key home-based internationals will be on dual WRU-regions contracts.

The agreement also means British and Irish Lions captain Warburton is able to play for Cardiff Blues.

Warburton had been left in limbo after becoming the first player to sign a central contract with the WRU but is now cleared to play.

But the 25-year-old said he was always relaxed about the situation even when both sides were poles apart.

"Nothing at all has changed for me, which is why it's been quite a funny one to watch from the outside and see what's been said in the press," Warburton added.

"I had my four, five weeks off like everybody else and I came back in and I played against Leicester, which was what I was pencilled in to do.

"I don't know whether it's been blown out of all proportion or whether I've been naïve but we've still got a Pro12, still got and English league and French league and three tiers of European competition.

"It's all positive news."

The Blues' open their Pro 12 campaign against Zebre on Sunday, 7 September.

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