Faletau’s move to England blocked by Gatland

Taulupe Faletau will play for Bath next season

Wales forward Taulupe (Toby) Faletau’s potential move to an English Premiership Rugby club has been blocked by Wales coach Warren Gatland.

Newport Gwent Dragons have confirmed that they have been denied permission to accept a transfer fee for Faletau following the submission of a formal request to Warren Gatland last week.

Contract negotiations between Faletau and the Dragons had hit a stumbling block and it appeared that the club had become resigned to selling him for a contract fee.

When asked to approve the move Wales National Coach Gatland re-iterated his commitment to upholding the restrictions imposed by the Rugby Services Agreement (RSA) in limiting the number of players being selected from outside Wales in the future.

Dragons Chief Executive Stuart Davies explained,”This has been a difficult and sensitive rugby matter, in which the needs and wishes of a player, a region, the wider game in Wales and the national side have all been part of a rather challenging conundrum.

“At the heart of it of course is Taulupe, who has been loyal to and is very happy at the Dragons. Having become aware however of possible interest in him from an English club, he formally requested permission to speak to them, which we granted, with a view to establishing what was best for the player and indeed the region.

“There then followed a significant period of discussion and negotiation, during which we adhered to the provisions of the RSA. For this particular scenario, release of Taulupe from his contract would have required the National Head Coach’s permission, and the ‘wildcard’ provision within the WRU Senior Selection Policy was an important factor in this regard. As such, upon Rhys Priestland’s reported break from international rugby, the matter was revisited.

“It was always going to be painful to lose Taulupe, given what we’re trying to build here at the Dragons, but our decision to pursue the transfer option was a very measured one, having regard to a number of considerations. Whilst we fully respect the aspirations of the RSA, naturally it is disappointing on this occasion that we have not been able to act independently in the best interests of the region, or to receive the required support in achieving our preferred outcome.

In all likelihood the interest in Faletau will remain and he is likely to make the move at the end of the season without a transfer fee going to the Dragons.

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