Jake Ball becomes latest Wales star to sign national dual contract
Scarlets lock becomes sixth player to commit to the new system brought in by the Welsh Rugby Union
Jake Ball has become the latest Wales international to sign a national dual contract.
The Scarlets lock, who established himself in the Wales engine room last year, is the sixth player to commit his future to Welsh rugby through the new deals.
It’s been a fantastic year for me, I’m still taking everything step by step and want to perform as well as I can for the Scarlets to put my hand up for selection for the Six Nations.
The 23-year-old made eight appearances for Wales since making his debut in the 2014 Six Nations and will remain at the Parc y Scarlets when not required by the national team.
“I’m delighted to have signed a National Dual Contract and to be staying in Wales,” Ball said.
“The NDC was a big factor in my decision as I get to work hand in hand with the management at the Welsh Rugby Union as well as the Scarlets.
“Player welfare is extremely important and being looked after by both parties is great for me.
“It’s been a fantastic year for me, I’m still taking everything step by step and want to perform as well as I can for the Scarlets to put my hand up for selection for the Six Nations.”
The latest announcement comes quickly after Newport Gwent Dragons duo Hallam Amos and Tyler Morgan accepted NDCs, as did Ball’s Scarlets team-mate Rhodri Jones.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland had offered 12 players a dual contract late last year and the Kiwi believes the latest signing will send out a strong message.
“The signing of Jake on a national dual contract is another important step for the future of the game in Wales,” Gatland said.
“A player of Jake’s calibre and age attracted serious interest from outside of Wales, but the introduction of NDCs means another Welsh international has committed his future to Wales and his region.”
Ball joins Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Tyler Morgan, Hallam Amos and Rhodri Jones on an NDC, with the WRU expected to announce further deals in the coming weeks.