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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 08:22 GMT 09:22 UK
Mefin admits Stade 'gamble'
Mefin Davies
Mefin Davies admits he has taken a huge gamble by turning down a two-year deal with Stade Francais in the hope of continuing his Wales career.

The French league champions wanted to sign the Wales hooker, but only if he agreed to quit international rugby.

"It was a very hard decision to make, especially since it was a club like Stade Francais," Davies told BBC Sport.

"They were really keen to have me over there and for me to play many games for them."

The 31-year-old, who played all three Tests on Wales' summer tour, has been left without a contract since the demise of the Celtic Warriors team.

Davies admitted he may now struggle to find a deal before next season, inevitably damaging his international hopes.

"By going to Stade Francais, it would definitely be the end of my time with Wales," Davies explained.

I'm sure if it came to the crunch, Stade couldn't prevent me from playing for Wales
Wales hooker Mefin Davies
"At the moment, at least I've still got a chance of playing for Wales. It's not a matter that I will be playing for Wales - I've got to fight for the position - but I'll be available for selection.

"The way I look at it is that I don't think any club is bigger than any national team."

International Rugby Rules state that clubs cannot block players from playing for their country, but Davies said he realised that quitting international rugby was an "unofficial requirement" of Stade Francais's offer.

"It's the demands of the game these days," he said. "Clubs are after results and they want as many top players playing for them as possible.

"I'm sure if it came to the crunch, Stade couldn't prevent me from playing for Wales. But I don't want to go to a club fighting contractual meanings before starting.

"It was something I had to come to terms with and had to make a decision upon."

Wales' record cap holder Gareth Llewellyn agreed a move to Narbonne earlier this week after insisting that he wished to continue playing for his country.

The French club had initially been reluctant, but he was able to persuade them that it was to their benefit to have another international player on their books.

Last year's Rugby World Cup was also hit by a spate of withdrawals, especially amongst the developing nations, from players who remained with their clubs rather than joining their countries.

Clause 9.2 of the International Rugby Board's regulations on the game reads:

"No Union, Association, Rugby Body or Club whether by contract or otherwise may inhibit, prevent or render unavailable any player from selection, attendance and appearance in a National Representative Team or National Squad, including training sessions, and any player must be released upon request by his Union."





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Davies ponders career end
04 Jun 04  |  Welsh


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