Four new Welsh dual contracts

Date published: March 18 2015

Alun Wyn Jones is one of four Welsh stars to have signed a dual contract and committed their future to regional rugby and Wales.

Jones, Dan Biggar (both Ospreys), Scott Williams (Scarlets) and the uncapped Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) have all become NDC players just 24 hours after Rhys Webb (Ospreys) was announced as the eighth signing, meaning there are now 12 dual-contracted players in total.

The four latest signings join Webb, skipper Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Jake Ball, Samson Lee, Rhodri Jones (all Scarlets) and Tyler Morgan and Hallam Amos (both Newport Gwent Dragons).

"Alun Wyn, Dan, Scott and Gareth represent a cross section of experience, but each one of them is a player of proven talent," said Wales coach Warren Gatland.

"Within the group of 12 we have signed a mixture of emerging talent and players who have secured reputations for excellence through their appearances for their regions, Wales and the British & Irish Lions.

"The strength of the group is of great benefit to professional rugby in Wales and we are looking forward to working closely with the Regions and these players in the years ahead."

Each of the four new players welcomed the opportunity of becoming dual-contracted players.

"For me the national dual contract allows me to continue playing with ambition for the Ospreys and put myself in the best position to be selected for Wales," said Jones.

"Hopefully, now a good number of players have committed to this process, there will be a clear pathway of progression for youth and regional players to perform on the international stage."

"I'm thrilled to have signed an NDC and honoured to have been considered for one in the first place," added his Ospreys teammate Biggar.

"After a lot of consideration it's apparent that it's in the best interests of all parties.

"I am as committed as I've ever been to pulling on an Ospreys shirt, being an Osprey is all I've ever known.

"My focus, once Saturday's huge game for Wales is out of the way, is making as big a contribution to the Ospreys' season as I can. 

"Ensuring that we're in the end of season playoff games remains a huge motivation for me, it's where a club of the Ospreys standing should be.

"I'm looking forward to the next 18 months with the Ospreys and Wales immensely, a period which should be a special time for Welsh rugby as a whole."

Joining the Ospreys pair is Williams, who scored the decisive try in Wales' win over Ireland on Saturday.

"It is a great honour to be offered a national dual contract and I am delighted to be amongst the first group of players to take up this opportunity," said the Scarlets centre.

"I am very grateful to all the assistance I have at the Scarlets and within the Wales coaching structure and I am now looking forward to continuing to work as hard as I can within Welsh rugby."

The final contract is reserved for Blues fly-half Anscombe, who is still to make his international debut. The former Chiefs playmaker arrived in Cardiff this season having grown up in New Zealand.

"I am extremely grateful to have been added to the list of national dual contract players in Wales," said Anscombe.

"This makes me more determined than ever to become the best I possibly can be as a player so that I can compete for my Blues place and strive for international honours with Wales."