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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
WRU player plea to clubs
Wales coach Steve Hansen
Hansen wants his players fresh for the World Cup
Wales' clubs have been asked to limit their Welsh international players to 20 appearances for their clubs next season.

National coach Steve Hansen believes the plan will limit the effects of player burn-out in the build-up to the World Cup next October.

"It's important we don't hammer our players, we can't go on thrashing our best players or they'll run out of steam," he said.

There already exists a guideline for a maximum of 20 club games per season for Welsh internationals, but the clubs have been asked to take this quota more seriously in the build-up to the World Cup.

The maximum number of matches any club can play in a season is 39. This is made up of 16 in the Welsh League, 10 in the Celtic League, nine in the Heineken Cup, and four in the Principality Cup.

Bonus points scoring (all stages cumulative):
Heineken Cup:
Quarter-final appearance 3pts; semi-final 3pts; final 3pts; win final 5pts.
Celtic League:
Quarter-final 3pts; semi-final 3pts; final 3pts; win final 3pts.
Parker Pen Cup:
Quarter-final 2pts; semi-final 2pts; final 2pts; win final 3pts.
Principality Cup:
Semi-final 3pts; final 3pts; win final 3pts.
Chairman of the Welsh Premier Division clubs, Derrick King, gave his backing to Hansen's wishes.

"There is already an agreement in place with the Welsh Rugby Union concerning players on dual contracts," King said.

"This gives as a guideline a maximum of 20 club games for the season.

"The Premiership clubs have always respected the wishes of the Welsh national team management and will continue to do so."

Hansen was speaking at the launch on Wednesday of a revolutionary new plan for the Welsh domestic league.

Bonus points will be on offer for Welsh clubs that succeed in all European competitions, the Celtic League and the Principality Cup.

Although these bonus points won't count towards deciding who actually wins the Welsh League - or who finishes bottom - they will count towards qualification for the Heineken Cup.

For example, if the bonus point system had been in place last season, Pontypridd would have claimed the fifth and final spot for Heineken Cup qualification.

Pontypridd would have leap-frogged Swansea by virtue of bonus points awarded for winning the Principality Cup (nine bonus points) and reaching the final of the Parker Pen Cup (six further bonus points).

This should help to ease pressure on clubs to play their best players by allowing them to secure Heineken Cup qualification before the end of the Welsh domestic season.




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