Wayne Pivac: Scarlets boss welcomes new Wales player selection rules

Rhys Priestland
Bath's former Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland could benefit from Wales' new selection policy

Scarlets boss Wayne Pivac has backed the revamped selection policy for players based outside Wales as "positive and a step in the right direction".

In future any player taking up a new contract not with a Welsh region must have won 60 caps to play for Wales.

"Speaking to a couple of agents in the last few days I think it is a positive thing," said Pivac.

"It is very clear everybody knows where they stand."

Toulon-bound Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb, 28, will play for Toulon next season and has won just 28 Wales caps, making him the big-profile loser under the new rules.

Players who are already playing outside Wales will be exempt, but this exemption will not extend to new contracts that have already been agreed by players for the 2017-18 season.

Pivac added: "So long as you know how many Tests you have played as a player, you should be able to work it out.

"I think it's a positive and a step in the right direction.

"In terms of the 60 games it is a policy that makes it very, very simple.

"For some people it is going to be a question on how much in my present situation, in current times, how much do I value the jersey versus what can be sometimes quite sizable financial opportunities elsewhere.

"It really comes down to the individual on those questions which will be answered in due course when some guys are going to have to make tough decisions.

"You like to think your national jersey has a value to it."

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

But Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal responded by saying such a move would come at a price.

Webb's Ospreys half-back partner Dan Biggar will join Northampton next season. He currently has 56 caps and unless injury intervenes is likely to pass the 60-cap mark this season before heading for England.

The new policy is similar to the model in Australia, where players who have won at least 60 Test caps and played domestic rugby for seven years can be selected regardless of any move abroad.

Players who will benefit from Wales' Test selection change include Northampton wing George North, who has won 69 caps, Bath back-row Taulupe Faletau (66) and Harlequins centre Jamie Roberts (93).

The likes of Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland, who has 48 caps, will also benefit for the moment.

But to continue to be eligible the 30-year-old would need to return to a Welsh region after his current deal with the English Premiership side ends, if he has not amassed 60 caps.

An uncapped player may also be selected for Wales at any time from any club, but likewise must sign to play in Wales upon the completion of their current contract in order to continue to be selected.

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