Confusion continues to reign over Rhys Webb’s international future after Toulon insisted they have a binding contract with the Wales scrum-half to sign him at the end of the current season, a move that will effectively end his Test career unless he moves back to his homeland.
The 28-year-old has agreed a deal to join French side Toulon for the start of the 2018/19 season in a move that was announced on 10 October, with the current Ospreys half-back signing a three-year contract. Just one week after the signing was announced though, the Welsh Rugby Union changed its Senior Player Selection Policy [SPSP], ditching ‘Gatland’s Law’ that allowed up to four players based outside of Wales to be selected and instead imposing a 60-cap threshold for anyone playing abroad.
While Webb’s half-back partner at the Ospreys, Dan Biggar, looks set to reach the 60-cap minimum before he joins Northampton Saints next summer – needing four more caps to do so – Webb has only made 26 appearances and will be well short of the number needed to remain available for international selection.
Toulon initially announced that they had reached “a fair deal has been found in good faith with regard to [Webb’s] national selection in the interest of both parties”, but Wales head coach Warren Gatland suggested on Monday that Webb may have to choose to snub Toulon to remain in Wales and keep his international career alive – providing he has only signed a pre-contract.
Toulon, however, insist he has not.
“I have a contract with Webb,” Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal told French newspaper L’Equipe.
“If Warren Gatland wants to pay the clause to release him, no worry.
“But if Gatland pays, it will require a certified cheque. I’ve heard from neither Webb nor his agent today but it does not change anything for us. I am very quiet.”
Rhys Webb is likely to be ineligible for Wales from the end of this season (Getty)
Webb himself cast doubt on the discussions…