Liam Williams: Scarlets back will be Wales wildcard if he joins Saracens

Liam Williams
Liam Williams has played 37 Test matches for Wales

Wales back Liam Williams would have to compete for one of three wildcard selections for his country if he joins Saracens, says Neil Jenkins.

It is reported Williams has agreed to join the European champions when his Scarlets contract ends next summer.

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) rules limit the number of players based outside Wales that can be picked for internationals.

"We've said we want to keep our best players in Wales and Liam is one of those," said skills coach Jenkins.

"We'd love to keep him in Wales but at the end of the day Liam's decision is his own.

"But I'm sure we'll fight in every way possibly to keep our best players and Liam is one of them."

The WRU's senior player selection policy - the so-called Gatland's Law - limits the number of players based outside Wales that can be selected for Test matches to three if they have turned down a contract offer in Wales.

It is understood Williams has been offered a national dual contract by Wales and the Scarlets so would have to rely on a wildcard selection for Wales if he joins Saracens.

This autumn, Jamie Roberts, Taulupe Faletau and George North are the three permitted wildcards with Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland missing out.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny would be added to that list next season if efforts to get him back to Wales from Toulon fail.

"If Leigh stays [in Toulon], if Liam goes, it does become an issue but at some point it becomes an opportunity for other players," Jenkins added.

Scarlets and Saracens and the player's agent have declined to comment.

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny played for Ospreys and Blues before moving to France

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson expects competition for Halfpenny's signature if he does decide to return to Wales on a National Dual Contract at the end of his current Toulon deal in summer 2017.

"If Leigh Halfpenny is available I imagine all four regions would be interested in bringing him back and the Welsh Rugby Union would certainly be interested in bringing him back," said Wilson.

Helfpenny joined Toulon from the Blues in 2014.

"Leigh's been at the region before and I think he's got a lot of friends here on and off the field," added Wilson.

"With the likes of Leigh, being Welsh and the player he is, you'd do your utmost to get him back and if that takes a little bit longer then so be it."

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