Wales secure three youngsters on national dual contracts
Dragons duo Tyler Morgan and Hallam Amos, and Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones are the latest players to commit to Welsh rugby
Wales have given rugby fans a glimpse of the future after securing three young players on national dual contracts.
Newport Gwent Dragons backs Hallam Amos, 20, and Tyler Morgan, 19, as well as Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones, 22, are the lastest players to commit to Welsh rugby and their respective regions.
The contracts allow us to work closely with the national squad management and for me that was a big incentive. Being able to get that extra advice and guidance will really benefit me going forward.
They join Wales captain Sam Warburton and Ospreys flanker Dan Lydiate in signing on to the Welsh Rugby Union’s new programme aimed at stemming the flood of Welsh talent to England and France.
Of the three, only Morgan is uncapped at senior international level, but all three have come through the Wales U20 ranks and Newport-born Morgan played nine times for Wales U20 in their Six Nations and Junior World Championship campaigns this year.
“I am over the moon to sign a National Dual Contract,” said Morgan.
“I’m a local boy and I’m very happy at the Dragons so I’m delighted to commit my future to them and to Welsh rugby.
“The contracts allow us to work closely with the national squad management and for me that was a big incentive. Being able to get that extra advice and guidance will really benefit me going forward.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland had sent out a dozen contracts to top Welsh rugby talent with a number of players out of contract in the summer and considering their futures.
The structure we have created means a player’s development and welfare is monitored by the national squad management, and this will help players realise their full potential.
International talent has flooded out of Wales in recent seasons with full-back Leigh Halfpenny joining Toulon and centre onathan Davies joining Clermont Auvergne in the summer, while Richard Hibbard left the Ospreys for Gloucester and Bradley Davies swapped Cardiff Blues for Wasps.
George North, James Hook, Jamie Roberts, Luke Charteris, Gavin Henson, Mike Phillips and Owen Williams are also playing their club rugby in England or France, which limits their ability to take part in Wales training camps and international matches outside of World Rugby’s Test window.
WRU chief executive Roger Lewis believes that Morgan’s signature is symbolic, given his age and status as an uncapped player.
“Securing the signatures of these three young players represents the most momentous stage so far for the NDC system in Wales,” Lewis said.
“We have made headlines with this great new initiative already with the marquee signings of Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate, two of our established international stars, and being able to ensure Dan could return home to Wales has sent the right messages around the rugby world.
“But the future of Welsh rugby is in the hands of the likes of Tyler, Hallam and Rhodri.
“There is more to come, but Tyler’s signature, as the first uncapped player is particularly symbolic.”
Amos, who came through the Dragons academy, has been part of the region’s first team since making his PRO12 debut at 17 and won his only senior cap against Tonga in the 2013 autumn internationals, but his involvement with the national team has been limited by injuries.
Jones has been in and around the Wales senior set-up since 2011 and played a part in all five Wales matches in this year’s Six Nations and all four Dove Men Series matches last month.
Gatland insists that the new contracts will allow talented players to stay in Wales and realise their true potential by having their development and playing time managed by the national team coaches alongside their regional counterparts.
“This is another important step forward as some of our youngest prospects commit their futures to the game in Wales,” Gatland said.
“The structure we have created means a player’s development and welfare is monitored by the national squad management, and this will help players realise their full potential.
“NDCs will strengthen the game at national and regional level, and we would like to thank the regions for their help in this process.”