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Bath likely to be fined for releasing Taulupe Faletau to play for Wales

Premiership Rugby policy prevents clubs from releasing non-English players for Tests outside of the official window.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

BATH ARE LIKELY to face disciplinary action for releasing Taulupe Faletau to play for Wales in their final November Test versus South Africa on Saturday.

Wales’ fourth such autumn fixture lies outside the official window.

Premiership Rugby policy prevents clubs from releasing non-English players for these Tests, and are therefore not beholden to the regulation which would usually oblige them to make players available to all national sides.

This policy was waived last year when Wales’s extra international fell on an Anglo-Welsh weekend, but Paul Rees writes in The Guardian that Premiership Rugby has said the policy will indeed applied be this weekend as Bath travel to champions Exeter.

Bath confirmed they had released Faletau to play against South Africa in defiance of Premiership Rugby’s rule, releasing the following statement:

We continue to support the objective of resolving the club and international calendar for the benefit of players, clubs and unions, which would prevent this being an issue in the future.

In 2013, Northampton Saints were fined £60,000 for releasing George North to play for Wales outside the official Test window. Per Rees in The Guardian, North’s contract included a clause which, on paper, gave him the right to join up with Wales whenever called upon.

However, Premiership Rugby referred the issue to an independent disciplinary panel. This panel concluded that North’s Saints contract breached a rule which had already been unanimously agreed by all Premiership clubs.

Bath are likely to face a similar sanction but perhaps less than the £60,000 forked out by the Saints, as their fine applied to all three years of North’s deal.

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