The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and regional chiefs must resolve their differences and end the chaos surrounding the domestic game or risk losing players to English clubs, Cardiff Blues flyhalf Gareth Anscombe has said.
Anscombe, whose 20-point haul helped Wales beat Ireland and win the Six Nations title on Saturday, said turmoil off the field had left a number of Welsh players feeling let down by the authorities.
The WRU and Welsh regions have held restructuring talks that could represent the most radical change to regional rugby in Wales since its inception in 2003, including a proposed merger between Scarlets and Ospreys.
“Players have been let down a fair bit certainly when you look at the results we have provided them. We all want to play for Wales — there’s no doubt about that — but players need to be treated well and we deserve to be,” Anscombe told reporters.
Anscombe, whose national dual contract expires at the end of the season, was responding to suggestions a number of Welsh players were considering leaving their regional sides to sign contracts with teams in the lucrative English Premiership.
“I think it’s made all the boys think about that, to be honest. We’ve got only a 10-year window to really look after ourselves, and I guess the important thing is you don’t want to look back with any regrets,” the 27-year-old said.
Players based outside Wales with fewer than 60 caps are not eligible for national selection. Anscombe, who has attracted interest from English clubs Bath and Harlequins, would no longer be available for selection by Wales if he moves to England next season.
“There’s a fair bit going on behind the scenes which needs to get sorted,” he added. “I’d love to keep playing for Wales but we’ve got to work out a few things, for sure.
“I think we’ve given the union something to be pretty proud about and hopefully the union and the regions can come together and sort out the best deals for the players, because that is important.”