Rugby Wales: George North among seven under 'Gatland's Law'

George North, Taulupe Faletau and Jamie Roberts are among the players who need a wildcard selection to play for Wales.

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George North, Taulupe Faletau and Jamie Roberts are among seven players who will have to count on being selected as one of three wildcard picks to represent Wales.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) on Friday confirmed its senior player selection policy for the 2016-17 season, with only a trio of players who play for clubs from outside their homeland eligible.

Northampton Saints wing North, Bath new boy Faletau and Harlequins centre Roberts are included in the group who have been captured by a rule known as 'Gatland's Law'.

Rhys Priestland, Dominic Day, Nicky Thomas and Rhodri Williams will also need a wildcard pick from Warren Gatland or Rob Howley in order to feature at international level in the current campaign.

Bath lock Luke Charteris is exempt from the ruling, which the WRU sees as "fundamental to the short and long term health of the game."

WRU group chief executive Martyn Phillips said: "With three 'wildcard' selections available for each campaign during the 2016-17 season decisions will have to be made on selection. Players have been aware that there would come a point, if they left or signed new contracts outside Wales, that the policy would impact on selection.

"We are aware that supporters may be concerned that we will not be selecting from a full list of players, but the alternative where players increasingly play outside Wales isn't sustainable for the long-term success of our game whether that be professional or community rugby.

"Clearly the player ultimately has the choice but we will do all we can to ensure that playing in Wales gives the player the best professional rugby experience possible.

"With the likes of Jonathan Davies, Bradley Davies, Matthew Morgan and Dan Lydiate returning to play their club rugby in Wales, and the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb choosing to stay in the light of the policy, we believe this is a strategy that will promote the long term health of the game."

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