Rhys Webb: Wales scrum-half has binding Toulon deal, says owner Mourad Boudjellal

Rhys Webb
Rhys Webb made his Wales debut in 2012 but has won less caps than many of his peers due to injuries

Rhys Webb has signed a contract to join Toulon next season and would face a financial penalty if he reneged on it, according to owner Mourad Boudjellal.

Wales boss Warren Gatland had suggested Webb might only have a "pre-agreement".

The scrum-half's 28-cap Wales career is set to end when he moves to France, after the Welsh Rugby Union changed its selection policy to exclude players abroad who have won less than 60 caps.

"I have a contract with Webb," Toulon owner Boudjellal confirmed to L'Equipe.

"If Warren Gatland wants to pay the clause to release him, no worry.

"But if Gatland pays, it will require a certified cheque. I've heard from neither Webb nor his agent today but it does not change anything for us. I am very quiet."

It was announced on 10 October that British and Irish Lions player Webb would leave Ospreys at the end of this season to join Toulon on a three-year deal.

At the time Toulon said that Webb would be able to continue playing for his country as "a fair deal has been found in good faith with regard to its national selection in the interest of both parties".

Mourad Boudjellal
Outspoken Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal took charge of the French Top 14 club in 2006

This week the WRU announced a major change to its senior international selection policy (SPSP) for players based outside Wales.

Wales' previous SPSP, also known as 'Gatland's Law', allowed head coach Gatland to pick only four players at clubs outside Wales to play for the national side, although there were caveats to that.

That quota was due to drop to just two wildcard picks for the 2019-20 season.

Webb finished last season as Wales' first-choice nine and won two caps on the drawn Lions series in New Zealand, and would arguably have been one of the four picks under the old policy once he had moved to the Stade Mayol.

But the 28-year-old told Wales Online the change to Wales' SPSP had caught him unawares.

"I didn't know the full implications when I agreed to join Toulon because the change in the selection policy came out after I signed," he said.

Gatland had suggested Webb might be able to reverse his decision to join Toulon in order to secure his international future.

"It's a pre-agreement and I think, under law, once you've signed a contract that's binding but, before that [with a pre-agreement], both parties could potentially walk away from that," the New Zealander told BBC Sport Wales after the WRU announcement on Monday.

"In the short-term that's going to be his own decision and only he will know.

"I spoke to Rhys a number of weeks ago and he said, given his age, given his injury history, he's made a decision to go there and it was a personal decision he felt he couldn't walk away from, life-changing in terms of his future for him and his family."

Top Stories