Cathal Noonan/INPHO
Signing on

Four more Welsh players commit to new 'central' contracts

Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar, Scott williams and Gareth Anscombe have joined Rhys Webb in signing an NDC to stay in Wales

THE WELSH RUGBY Union seem to finally be getting to grips with the contractual procedures needed in today’s rugby environment to hold onto their leading players.

Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar, Scott Williams and uncapped out-half Gareth Anscombe have all committed to National Dual Contracts, a day after Rhys Webb also signed.

This takes the total number of Welsh players signed to these type of central contracts to 12, evidently showing that the new regime is more attractive to players.

Players holding one of these contracts will be managed as regards to their playing time and welfare each season, with Warren Gatland liaising with each club on the players’ well being. Gatland himself worked closely with the regions regarding all the players he wants to secure on NDCs.

It is a huge change from the exodus that Welsh rugby has suffered in the last number of years as more lucrative contract offers came in from mostly France for the countries best players.

The new contract was sufficient enough to draw Dan Lydiate back from his spell in Paris with Racing Metro at the end of last year, and he will go back to play with the Ospreys. Alun Wyn Jones sees the new contracts as a very attractive option for players who want to give themselves the best possible opportunity with the national side.

He said:

“For me the National Dual Contract allows me to continue playing with ambition for the Ospreys and put myself in the best position to be selected for Wales.

“Hopefully, now a good number of players have committed to this process, there will be a clear pathway of progression for youth and regional players to perform on the international stage.”

Dan Biggar also shared the same sentiments:

“I’m thrilled to have signed an NDC and honoured to have been considered for one in the first place.

“After a lot of consideration it’s apparent that it’s in the best interests of all parties.

“I am as committed as I’ve ever been to pulling on an Ospreys shirt, being an Osprey is all I’ve ever known.

“My focus, once Saturday’s huge game for Wales is out of the way, is making as big a contribution to the Ospreys’ season as I can.

Whether or not these new contracts will be sufficient enough to entice players such as Jamie Roberts, Luke Charteris and Jonathan Davies — currently with Clermont — back to Wales remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, it’s a good start.

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