Wales coach Warren Gatland expects more dual contracts soon

Wales head coach Warren Gatland expects more players to agree dual contracts in the next "week or so".
Six Nations 2015: France v Wales
Venue:Stade de FranceDate:28 February, 2015Kick-off:17:00 GMT
Coverage:Live on BBC One, HD, Red Button, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Wales coach Warren Gatland expects more players to be confirmed on dual national contracts in the next week.

Seven players have already signed deals, jointly funded by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the regions.

Gatland says he would ideally like 25 players on the contracts, but admitted funds will restrict the number.

"I think we're very close to announcing a number of players over the next week or so - another four or five players," said the New Zealander.

"Then we have another group of contracts to issue and after that we've probably run out of money, but having said that we'll have ended up with hopefully 15 to 17 players who will have signed in the next four to six weeks."

Wales captain Sam Warburton (Blues), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Jake Ball, Rhodri Jones, Samson Lee (all Scarlets), Tyler Morgan and Hallam Amos (both Dragons) have already agreed dual contracts.

Only three of those - Warburton, Lydiate and Lee - are in the starting line-up for Gatland's team to play France in the Six Nations Championship in Paris on Saturday.

The deals were created as part of a £60m settlement between the WRU and the four Welsh regions over funding and governance of the game in Wales.

The WRU holds the primacy of the contracts with players being released for an agreed number of regional games.

Under the Rugby Services Agreement, the WRU pays 60% of the player's salary with the region paying the remainder.

The WRU has a budget of £3.3m to fund the contracts which Gatland admits will limit the number of players, though he would like to see more deals available.

"Ideally with dual contracts you'd get to 25 players and keep topping that number up [and that] would probably be enough for us," he added.