Williams may need Wales wildcard if he joins Saracens

Liam Williams could see his hopes of playing for Wales next season relying on a wildcard selection if he joins Aviva Premiership champions Saracens.

It has been reported in Wales that 37 times-capped full-back or wing Williams has agreed a two-year deal with Saracens from next term.

Saracens have made no comment, but speculation is rife that a swoop for 25-year-old Williams could be announced in January.

If that materialises, then Scarlets star Williams could find himself competing for one of four wildcard places available in 2017-2018 under Welsh Rugby Union rules for players who ply their trade outside Wales.

Speaking on Tuesday, Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins said: “We’ve said we want to keep our best players in Wales, and Liam is certainly one of those.

“We would love to keep him in Wales.

“I am sure we will fight in every way possible to keep our best players, and Liam is one of them.”

The WRU senior player selection policy currently limits the number of wildcard players to three for any one international campaign. It affects players who play outside Wales if they have rejected a contract offer in Wales.

Wildcard selections in Wales’ current autumn Test squad are Harlequins centre Jamie Roberts, Northampton wing George North and Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny, meanwhile, could also find himself on the list of so-called captured players next year if he signs a new contract with his current club Toulon, rather than return to Wales.

Jenkins added: “We have said from day one that we want our best players playing in Wales. Leigh comes into that category, and so does Liam.

“We would love Leigh back, and we would love to keep Liam, there is no doubting that.

“If Leigh stays [in Toulon], if Liam goes, it does become an issue, obviously, but at some point in time it is an opportunity for other players as well.”

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18112779/rugby-liam-williams-need-wales-wildcard-joins-saracens-aviva-english-premiership
Williams may need Wales wildcard if he joins Saracens
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