Central contract for Warburton

2014-01-25 18:13
Sam Warburton (AFP)

London - Wales captain Sam Warburton has become the first player from his country to sign a central contract, the Welsh Rugby Union announced on Saturday.

The 25-year-old flank's contract with the Cardiff Blues had been due to expire at the end of the season, but he has rejected the opportunity to join the exodus of leading players leaving the Welsh game.

"I am delighted to commit my future to Welsh rugby. I would like to thank the WRU for its commitment to me," Warburton said in a statement released by the WRU.

"I also want to take this opportunity to thank my agent, Derwyn Jones, who has supported and mentored me from a young age and always had my best interests at heart.

"Now that my future is secured within Wales, I look forward to focusing on the Six Nations and beyond."

Warburton, who captained the British and Irish Lions on their successful tour of Australia last year, will spearhead the Welsh challenge in the forthcoming Six Nations championship.

Under the terms of the agreement, the WRU will pay Warburton's salary but he will be released to play for the Blues at no cost to the region.

Troubled by the flood of players leaving Wales to join clubs in England and France in recent years, the WRU has been trying to devise ways of keeping the top Welsh talent in the country.

The organisation previously attempted to offer George North, now at Northampton, a deal to remain in Wales, only for the Welsh regions to reveal that they had an agreement not to field players with central contracts.

"We have been able to strike a deal which ensures the Welsh captain will continue to play his rugby at the highest level here in Wales," said WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis.

"I am extremely grateful to the Cardiff Blues chairman, Peter Thomas, for his understanding when the WRU chairman and I met him on Wednesday to outline this proposed plan.

"Welsh rugby together cannot stand back any longer and watch its best players leave Wales. We all have to act together and act now in the best interests of the game."

Warburton's decision to remain in Wales bucks the recent trend, with his international colleagues Mike Phillips, Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate, Luke Charteris, James Hook and Lee Byrne all currently playing in France.

Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies and Ian Evans will all join them in the Top 14 next season, while North, Richard Hibbard, Paul James and Craig Mitchell are engaged with English Premiership sides.

Read more on:    sam warburton  |  rugby

Smith starts for Springboks

2014-08-20 17:36


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs

After the first weekend's Rugby Championship action, which team do you see as the strongest title contender?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.