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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 July 2005, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Wales reassesses overseas quotas
All Black Xavier Rush will be playing for Cardiff Blues next season
Xavier Rush is the sort of overseas player wanted by Wales
The Welsh Rugby Union have admitted that their regions may need more overseas players in the short term.

The matter has come to a head because of the extra demands of next season with the launch of the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The regions are allowed two overseas stars and must consult with the WRU if they wish to recruit more non-Welsh players with European Community rights.

"It may be we need to increase the number for a short time," said WRU group chief executive David Moffett.

We won't go down the route of England and France
WRU group chief executive David Moffett
"Our eventual aim is to have two non-Welsh qualified players per region and we remain totally committed to bringing on young Welsh talent.

"Our academies are up and running, but it will take a while for the youngsters to come through.

"We won't go down the route of England and France, who at times seem to have 50% of their players in domestic competitions not qualified to play for their national team.

"But we have to give our regions every chance of success and that could mean bringing in a couple of really good overseas players."

Hottie Louw
Springbok lock Hottie Louw has joined the Scarlets
The WRU will also seek to define the loophole in their participation agreement with the regions over the classification of overseas players.

"European law means there is a difference between foreign players and non-Welsh qualified players who have EC rights, but for our purposes we want to classify them as one group that aren't able to play for Wales," said Moffett.

There has been a clear divide in the regions' thinking on overseas players, most notably between the two west Wales sides, the Ospreys and the Scarlets.

The Scarlets have argued that they needed more non-Welsh players to rebuild their ageing squad and compete on the European stage.

Over the summer they have signed the likes of Clive Stuart-Smith, Regan King, Inoke Afeaki, Hottie Louw and Mike Hercus.

In contrast, Celtic League champions the Ospreys have been proud of their reliance on home-grown talent and have aimed frequent jibes at the Scarlets, including dubbing them the "Dyfed Barbarians".

We are a bit too top-heavy on the development side in our squad
Ospreys coach Lyn Jones
The Neath-Swansea side's summer recruitment has been low-key, but coach Lyn Jones said their increased commitments could leave them struggling to retain their league title next season.

"With a very busy fixture list and nine [Wales] international games a number of our players could be unavailable for large chunks of the season," said Jones.

"We have to get the blend right of youth, development and experience in our squad.

"We are a bit too top-heavy on the development side at the moment and there is a possibility we may have to go back a step before we go forward.

"Great teams are measured on their ability to come back and win the title once more so the pressure is on us.

"As champions people will raise their game against us, and I also think visitors will be inspired by playing at our new stadium in Morfa.

"The Scarlets and Ulster fought tooth and nail for the league title two years ago, but both underachieved last year, we have to be mindful of those lessons."

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