Steve Tandy: Ospreys coach says 'Gatland Law' change might not be enough

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Scrum V discusses the possibility of changing 'Gatland's Law'

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy says a change in Wales' selection policy might not stop players from playing abroad.

Tandy will lose Wales half-backs Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar to Toulon and Northampton respectively next season.

The Welsh Rugby Union is considering adapting its senior player selection policy (SPSP) to allow more senior players based outside Wales to play.

"When you see the amount of money being bandied about, it's still difficult... to compete with that," said Tandy.

The WRU policy, nicknamed 'Gatland's Law' permits only four players at clubs outside Wales to play for the national side for the next two seasons.

The quota is due to drop to just two wildcard picks for the 2019-20 season - but further changes could occur.

In Australia, players who have won at least 60 Test caps and played domestic rugby for seven years can be selected regardless of any move abroad, although this might not be the new Wales model.

"There will be elements you can tweak and it has to be right for the Welsh and regional game," said Tandy.

"There is a balance and talks are going on but, with regards to the selection policy, it might be easier to keep some of the younger players.

"When you are talking about the amounts of money now, the boys who are coming to the senior end of the international window, it's difficult to compete with that."

Counting the cost

Tandy admits the Ospreys could not compete with the offers from French and English clubs for Webb and Biggar.

"There is nothing you can do," said Tandy.

"It is hard to take because they are home-grown boys. You see the strain on their faces when they tell you they are leaving.

"When you dig down it is obvious we can't compete with these moves.

"Six years ago we had more money to spend on players than we do now and wages have skyrocketed.

"In the time we have been here we have lost 30 players and had £2m taken off the wage bill, and gone through cycles of moving senior players on.

"We are in the bottom half of funding. If you try to keep those players (Webb and Biggar) on stand-alone contracts, you are significantly hitting your overall budget."

Dan Biggar
Fly-half Dan Biggar made his Ospreys debut in 2007 but will leave at the end of the season to join Northampton

Rebuilding again

Tandy points to the last time the Ospreys lost Wales internationals Ryan Jones, Ian Evans, Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones.

"We have been through these situations before where it was the end of an era," said Tandy.

"We won't use this as an excuse. Everyone will be doom and gloom about Welsh rugby and the Ospreys with two guys leaving.

"Underneath we have young guys coming through and we have continually brought boys on."

The Ospreys have lost 10 of their last 12 league games and are bottom of their Pro14 conference.

Next they start a Champions Cup group which includes last year's finalists Clermont and Saracens, along with Northampton.

The new campaign starts with a home tie against Clermont at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, 15 October.

"It is not going to get any easier but we back ourselves against anyone at home," said Tandy.

"This competition is exciting and nobody will give us a hope.

"We are in a rut but we can snap out of it and are not far away from our first win.

"Hopefully it will come Sunday and it can kick-start our season."

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