Rugby

Warren Gatland to pick a long forgotten Wales star

Jarrod Evans remains eligible for Wales selection despite the fact that the talented outside-half plies his trade in England and has fewer than 25 caps

 

The 27-year-old was probably a victim of the contract freeze that plagued Welsh rugby for a significant portion of the previous season when he departed Cardiff for Gallagher Premiership team Harlequins in the summer. Evans, who has eight appearances for Wales, is thought to be well short of the contentious 25-cap requirement of the Professional Rugby Board, which means he would not be eligible for international rugby after relocating to London.

However, WalesOnline is aware of a legal provision that stipulates a player operating outside of Wales may still be eligible for international duty in the event that he was “lowballed” and did not obtain a legitimate offer, or if he received no offer at all from a Welsh area. Evans seems to fit this description because Cardiff was unable to provide him a feasible deal at the time because of their financial limitations.

With Wales center Joe Hawkins declaring himself ineligible for selection to the Wales national team after joining Exeter Chiefs instead of the Ospreys, there are undoubtedly murky places under the 25 cap regulation. Evans has shown effective when chosen, but just because he is eligible does not guarantee that Warren Gatland will choose the gifted playmaker who is ranked behind England star Marcus Smith in the Harlequins hierarchy.

With Dan Biggar’s retirement from Test rugby and Gareth Anscombe’s relocation to Japan, Gatland himself has identified the number 10 jersey as one area where Wales needs to find some depth. Sam Costelow’s performance at the Rugby World Cup left the Wales management extremely impressed, and Ioan Lloyd has been fantastic for the Scarlets ever since he joined from the Bristol Bears.

Another player who has returned to form for Bristol is Callum Sheedy, and Wales might also consider Owen Williams, an accomplished playmaker for the Ospreys.

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