Wales lock Jake Ball says 'Gatland's Law' should not apply to senior players

Luke Charteris and Jake Ball
Luke Charteris (left) and Jake Ball have packed down together in the second row for Wales

Lock Jake Ball says Welsh rugby's so-called "Gatland's Law" should not apply to long-serving members of the squad.

The Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) senior player selection policy (SPSP) means only three players based outside Wales can be picked for the national team.

But Ball, 25, believes there should be exemptions.

"People who have served their country for a long time should be allowed to go away if they want to when they're in their 30s," he said.

The rule will come into force for the first time when Wales name their squad for the autumn internationals which will be selected not by head coach Warren Gatland but assistant Rob Howley.

Gatland is taking a sabbatical from Wales after being named coach of the British and Irish Lions for their 2017 summer tour to New Zealand.

The list of players to be affected by the new rule includes Rhys Priestland, Taulupe Faletau, Jamie Roberts and George North.

Second-row Luke Charteris - who joined Bath from Racing 92 during the summer - is believed to be exempt because he was not offered a contract in Wales before signing for the English club.

Ball will be vying for a place in the Wales second row with Charteris but welcomes his rival's exemption.

"For someone of his age (33) that's played as much as he has (68 caps) there could be an exception," said Ball.

Australian-born Ball turned down an offer from Northampton Saints in favour of signing a national dual contract with Scarlets and Wales and agrees with the principle of the selection policy.

"I look at it and think I made the right decision. You should be rewarded for staying and playing in your country. That's how you build a good national team.

"But I'd like to think when I get to 32, 33, it might be that I want to go and experience something different.

"It would be nice to think that when it gets to that point you'd get a blessing to go and do that."

The WRU has listed seven players who would fall into the wild card category if selected.

Included in addition to Priestland (Bath), Roberts (Harlequins), North (Northampton) and Faletau (Bath), lock Dominic Day (Toyota Verblitz in Japan, before joining Melbourne Rebels in 2017), flanker Nicky Thomas (Gloucester) and scrum-half Rhodri Williams (Bristol) are the others affected.

Three wildcard selections are available for each Wales campaign during 2016-17.

The rule does not affect players who signed contracts with clubs outside Wales before the policy was introduced, such as Toulon's Leigh Halfpenny and Exeter's Tomas Francis.

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