Wales captain Sam Warburton is among four players who have re-signed national dual contracts ahead of the autumn Tests.
The Welsh Rugby Union announced Friday that Warburton, his back-row colleague Dan Lydiate, prop Samson Lee and back Hallam Amos have all put pen to paper.
Warburton, 28, became the first player to sign a national contract with the WRU in January 2014, which then evolved into a national dual contract with his regional team Cardiff Blues.
Lydiate joined the Ospreys from French club Racing 92 on a dual contract, while Newport Gwent Dragons’ Amos first signed in December 2014 and Scarlets forward Lee a month later.
The contracts are 60 per cent funded by the WRU, with a player’s region paying the rest.
And the WRU’s announcement comes just eight days before Wales kick off their autumn series against Australia in Cardiff, which is followed by appointments with Argentina, Japan and South Africa on successive weekends.
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said: “I am delighted that we are able to announce that four international stars have re-emphasized their commitment to the game here in Wales by re-signing national dual contracts.
“Having our best players playing here in Wales is vital to the future health of our game. We have made no secret of that, and the importance both on and off the field at regional and national level in Welsh players playing their rugby in Wales.
“The close working relationship and ambition shared with the regions is crucial in our ability to retain players. Together, we believe we are creating an environment that players want to play in and will get the best out of them on the field.
“In addition, our player-centred approach is not only helping extend their playing career, but also helping with success in their career after rugby.
“Seeing international players re-sign these contracts highlights the success of the programme as we continue to work hard to drive the game forward.”
Reflecting on Warburton’s deal, Blues head coach Danny Wilson added: “We are thrilled that Sam has signed a new national dual contract with the WRU and ourselves.
“Sam is obviously a top international-class flanker and has a vast amount of experience. With his leadership ability and having achieved so much in the game, he is a great asset for Cardiff Blues.
“It’s great that he sees his future here, and he will be a key figure for us moving forward.”
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Wales captain Warburton signs new dual deal
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