Gareth Davies: European club league interests WRU chairman

Bryan Habana, Leigh Halfpenny and Matt Giteau celebrate Toulon's 2015 Champions Cup win
Leigh Halfpenny (centre) won the European Champions Cup with Toulon in 2015

Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies would like to see a European club league set up in the future.

European champions Toulon want to leave their domestic league to play in the English Premiership.

The four Welsh regions currently play in the two European club competitions but Davies said: "Europe's best teams, Welsh teams included I hope, can play on a higher level on a weekly basis.

"Perhaps in the long term there will be a European competition."

He added: "That would allow us to compete better with the southern hemisphere.

"In the short term, it would be great to see Wales also being able to play against clubs from England.

"People have been talking about that sort of competition for a while - but it's not likely to happen in the next few years."

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The Welsh regions face clubs from the English Premiership in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, while Scottish, Irish and Italian sides provide weekly opposition in the Pro12.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal emailed English Premiership bosses proposing the move from the Top 14, which a spokesman said they would consider.

Boudjellal has made public his frustrations with the Top 14, related to the salary cap and bonus payments.

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny was a Champions Cup winner with Toulon last season and is expected to extend his stay with the French club.

Halfpenny's current deal runs out in the summer and Cardiff Blues and Scarlets were keen to take him back to Wales.

The 27-year-old is sidelined after suffering a serious knee injury in a World Cup warm-up game for Wales in September.

Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte expects him to remain in France beyond the end of the season.

"To be fair to Leigh, perhaps he feels he owes Toulon something," Davies added. "He's been injured and missed a year and I think he feels duty-bound in some ways.

"On the one hand it's sad for Wales and Welsh rugby in the short term but all credit to him as an individual."

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