Taulupe Faletau: Bath favourites to sign Lion, says Phil Davies

Taulupe Faletau
Newport Gwent Dragons number eight Taulupe Faletau (left) made his Wales debut in 2011

Phil Davies expects Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau to join Bath in spite of interest from Cardiff Blues.

The Welsh region are awaiting a reply from the player's agent after making an offer for Faletau.

Former Blues coach Davies says the English Premiership club remain favourites to sign the 24-year-old.

"If he doesn't want to stay at the Dragons then he arguably wants to move out of Wales and that's potentially what will happen," said Davies.

"If he's not going to stay at the Dragons with all the history and the support they have given him - and I know he really regards that - I'd imagine we'll see him going over the [Severn] bridge."

Phil Davies gives a team talk to the Cardiff Blues
Phil Davies was Director of Rugby at Cardiff Blues from 2012 to 2014

Faletau, a 2013 British and Irish Lions Test player, would not move until after the 2015 World Cup.

The Blues emerged as contenders after BBC Wales Sport reported the potential move to England, but have yet to receive an answer from Faletau and his representatives.

"The disappointing thing is we have had no response from his agent," said Blues chairman Peter Thomas.

"Cardiff Blues are most definitely interested in the player coming to us and I am sure [Wales head coach] Warren Gatland would be delighted at keeping him in Wales."

Faletau has a year left on his Dragons contract but could be bought out of that deal, with speculation the region could ask for as much as £250,000.

He had an offer of a national dual contract withdrawn by the Welsh Rugby Union in May after he failed to meet a deadline.

Faletau said at the time that changing his agent had "delayed" signing a dual contract, which would be co-funded by the WRU and the region.

National dual contracts were introduced to try to stem the flow of Welsh internationals leaving the regional game, but Faletau is understood to have discussed the situation with Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"If the Dragons opt to make a business decision to release him, then I would fully understand that," Thomas told WalesOnline.external-link

"But if we can offer a way to keep him here, to keep him performing him at regional level and playing for Wales - with all the off-field and financial benefits that come with that - then surely that's the best option for Welsh rugby?

"With a national dual contract and support from the Blues we can do that.

"It has to be better that he stays in Wales rather than goes outside the country."