Samson Lee delighted to join ranks of Wales dual contract players
Scarlets prop becomes sixth senior player to sign national dual contract, triggers 'Gatland's Law' selection policy
Samson Lee has revealed his delight at becoming the latest Wales international to sign a national dual contract.
The Scarlets tighthead prop, 22, becomes the seventh Welsh player to sign up to the new deals, which will keep him at the Parc y Scarlets when not required by the Wales national team.
Since making his Scarlets debut in 2012, Lee has emerged as one of the best tighthead props in northern hemisphere rugby during his 61 outings for the West Walians, and was named in the 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12 Dream Team.
This was an easy decision for me, a national dual contract is the best of both worlds…I hope I can continue to repay the faith placed in me by both by the Scarlets and the WRU coaches on the pitch.
He was a member of the Wales U20 team during the U20 Six Nations Championship in 2012 and World Rugby’s Junior World Championship in South Africa the same year.
The former Ammanford and Llanelli forward came off the bench in the 2013 autumn series against Argentina, going on win nine caps and ousting British and Irish Lions veteran Adam Jones from the Wales starting XV in 2014.
“This was an easy decision for me, a national dual contract is the best of both worlds,” Lee said.
“It allows me to commit to the Scarlets, where I’m enjoying my rugby and where I feel at home, but it also hopefully allows for exciting times ahead with Wales.
“I hope I can continue to repay the faith placed in me by both by the Scarlets and the WRU coaches on the pitch and am delighted that I will be attempting to do so at Parc y Scarlets for the foreseeable future.”
Lee becomes the sixth senior Welsh player to sign up to the dual contracts, joining Wales captain Sam Warburton, regional team-mates Rhodri Jones and Jake Ball, Ospreys flanker Dan Lydiate, and Newport Gwent Dragons wing Hallam Amos.
Dragons centre Tyler Morgan also signed a dual contract, but as an uncapped player at senior level, he is not considered a senior player.
We are all delighted with the calibre of player we are signing up and all of Welsh rugby will feel the benefit of this system for years to come.
Despite that, Lee’s decision has triggered the introduction of the so-called ‘Gatland’s Law’, named for current head coach Warren Gatland, or senior player selection policy.
The new policy, which features in the new Rugby Services Agreement between the Welsh Rugby Union and Welsh regions, will see players moving to England or France in future become unavailable for national team selection, subject to a number of exemptions, similar to the policy employed by England.
Roger Lewis, the Welsh Rugby CEO, again praised the new contracts as being to the benefit of Welsh rugby for years to come.
“Samson is a great example of the kind of player who can emerge from our development pathway,” Lewis said.
“He has achieved international success at a very young age for a tighthead prop forward and will undoubtedly continue to improve under the expert guidance he will get with a national dual contract.
“We are all delighted with the calibre of player we are signing up and all of Welsh rugby will feel the benefit of this system for years to come.”
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac also expressed his delight that another the region’s top players had committed their future to the West Walians.
“Samson has virtually put himself up there as a top-class international tight-head,” Pivac added.
“Having confirmed that Ken Owens and Liam Williams have both signed new contracts with the region and Rhodri Jones signed up to an NDC we are pleased to see another of our international players committing his future to Wales and the region.”
A player playing outside Wales will not be selected to represent the Wales senior side unless he is subject to a number of exemptions.
A player outside Wales whose contract pre-dates the policy’s installation or who later recontracts to the same club is exempt.
There are further exemptions subject to whether a player has been offered a contract by a region in Wales or not.
The national coach and the rugby management board also have degrees of discretion within the policy. For instance, excessive injuries to available players could become a selection factor.