Taulupe Faletau: Bath fined £60,000 for releasing Wales number eight

Wales and Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau
Faletau was part of Wales' 24-22 win over South Africa at the Principality Stadium on 2 December

Bath have been fined £60,000 by Premiership Rugby for allowing number eight Taulupe Faletau to play for Wales against South Africa in December.

Premiership rules state that clubs are not allowed to release players for Tests outside World Rugby's international window.

Bath become the second English club to be punished for this offence.

Northampton were also fined £60,000 in 2013 for releasing another Welshman George North to play against Australia.

Wales were the only home nation to play four Test matches this autumn and the game against South Africa, on 2 December, fell outside of World Rugby's official window for games to be played.

Premiership Rugby say Bath's co-operation in the process meant that the fine was reduced from £90,000.

Bath have urged for a resolution to the ongoing conflict between the international and domestic schedules.

"This is not good for players, clubs or unions," said Bath chief executive Tarquin McDonald. "We continue to support the objective of a solution for the separation of club and international calendars in a way which benefits players, clubs and unions, and brings an end to situations such as this."

A Premiership Rugby spokesman said: "This board policy has been an essential one, especially as there has been an increasing number of international matches being organised outside the specified international weeks. The agreed policy is well known to clubs, players and unions."

British and Irish Lions star Faletau, 27, who has won 70 caps for Wales, is still hopeful of playing some part in the 2018 Six Nations, having been told that he does not require surgery on the knee he injured playing for Bath in the European Champions Cup defeat at Toulon on 9 December.

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