Cardiff Blues: Danny Wilson calls for national dual contracts balance

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny spent three seasons with Toulon after leaving Cardiff Blues in 2014

Cardiff Blues coach Danny Wilson believes the distribution of national dual contracts (NDC) among the regions must be addressed.

The capital region missed out on re-signing full-back Leigh Halfpenny after he chose the Scarlets in August.

The Blues and Dragons have a total of four NDC players, while Ospreys and Scarlets have 12 between them.

"The problem is the system has the risk at the moment of feeding the strong," said Wilson.

The NDC system sees the Welsh Rugby Union paying 60% of a player's wages.

Ospreys have eight players - Dan Lydiate, Rhys Webb, Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies, Dan Biggar, James King, Scott Baldwin, Rory Thornton - on NDCs.

Halfpenny's signing took Scarlets' total to four with Jonathan Davies, Jake Ball and Samson Lee.

The Blues have two in Sam Warburton and Gareth Anscombe, while the Dragons have Hallam Amos and Tyler Morgan.

Redressing the balance

Wilson feels that makes it harder to change the status quo among the Welsh regions, where the Scarlets and Ospreys have historically enjoyed more success.

Scarlets are the reigning Pro12 champions and Ospreys have been the most successful of the Welsh regions in the tournament.

"We have to make sure we are an attractive option," said Wilson.

"If players have the choice where they go, perhaps the more successful Welsh players will go to certain clubs who will then attract the other internationals and be successful.

"They will be with a side who are considered to be at the top end of the league or in European competition,

"For us to get to that point, we will need a fair share in the future and I am sure the WRU are looking at that.

Gareth Anscombe and Sam Warburton
Gareth Anscombe (left) and Sam Warburton are the Blues' only dual contracted players

"Financially it is a huge gain. You are getting a world class player for 40% of what that player is worth, which is worth a huge amount to us as a region.

"We are in constant conversation with the Union. It depends what the aim and the goal is for regional rugby.

"If the system carries on as it is, it is common sense to say it keeps feeding the strong.

"I can understand why and get that, but at one point it will have to change [or] we could end up with the majority of national dual contract [players] in west Wales as they are now, it keeps growing and not coming this way."

Halfpenny was offered Blues deal

Wilson revealed Blues offered Halfpenny a deal but the Wales full-back chose not to rejoin the region he left for Toulon in 2014.

"It was a shame with Leigh being a Blues boys and coming through the academy," Wilson said.

"But at the same time he had his reasons and we get on with it.

"In the off season at times we had some financial difficulties and perhaps that made it difficult at this period.

"Things changed and the South African money coming into the league was a lift for us.

"The board felt we were in a position make an offer to Leigh.

"There was a lot of work to get Leigh here and unfortunately that didn't happen and he chose to go to the Scarlets.

"It's good to have him back in Wales but a shame he won't put on a Blues shirt as he did earlier in his career."

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