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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 07:04 GMT
Wales bosses back home-based plan
Wales coach Warren Gatland and scrum-half Dwayne Peel
Gatland says Peel's Wales place is not threatened by his Sale move
The Welsh Rugby Union has approved Warren Gatland's plan to persuade Wales players to stay with home-based clubs.

The new coach has warned players they may jeopardise their internaional careers if they play outside Wales.

The coach wants to keep talent in Wales to boost the regional set-up and get more time to work with his elite squad.

The WRU insist the policy is mainly aimed at the next generation of Wales players, and does not apply to current squad members with non-Welsh clubs.

That includes scrum-half Dwayne Peel, who agreed to join Sale from Llanelli Scarlets earlier this month.

Gatland confirmed 26-year-old would not fall foul of the new policy as he was in negotiations with the English Premiership outfit before the plan was announced.

"I will not penalise any of our current internationals who will not have been aware of the new strategy," he confirmed.

606: DEBATE
Bruce P

A WRU spokesman said: "The strategy is aimed at making it clear to players the Wales coaching team regards access to players during and outside squad time as significant in their development, preparation and welfare.

"The confirmation of the WRU strategy will not initiate any changes to the current squad.

"This is seen as a positive boost for Wales and the regions because of the close liaison between the national coaching team and their regional counterparts.

"It will enable constant dialogue and access between coaches and players to ensure individuals are developing to their fullest potential at all times."

The WRU's new policy received a boost on Thursday when fly-half Stephen Jones said that he would sign a new deal with the Scarlets.

Jones, who spent two years at Clermont Auvergne before returning to Stradey Park in 2006, had been linked with Biarritz and Munster.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis welcomed Jones's decision, saying: "The Scarlets will benefit from his talent and experience, the supporters will benefit from watching him, and Welsh rugby will benefit from having him here.

"Everyone now knows we are concerned about the playing location of our internationals and the effect this will have on selection decisions.

"Player location is an important factor, and we need to develop a structure and system which aligns to the needs of our regions and the international side."

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