Ross Moriarty: Wales coach Warren Gatland says back-rower turned down contract offer

Ross Moriarty
Wales international Ross Moriarty represented England at under-20 level

The Welsh Rugby Union will not be paying Ross Moriarty's salary if he returns to Wales.

Head coach Warren Gatland confirmed the WRU had offered a 'reasonable' figure as part of a national dual contract but a private investor made a bigger offer.

The WRU-owned Dragons remain favourites to sign Moriarty on what would be a contract signed solely with the region.

"We made him an offer of a national dual contract which we thought was a reasonable figure," said Gatland.

"Someone else has come in with more money from their own personal point of view.

"I haven't spoken to Ross Moriarty and can guarantee there has been no influence from the Union.

"All the regions are on a salary cap so they can't go over that."

Signing Ross Moriarty would be proof of the Dragons' progress, according to head coach Bernard Jackman.

The region have held talks with the Gloucester forward, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Moriarty, 23, is keen to return to Wales next year following a change in Wales' selection policy.

"He hasn't missed any deadline because there is no deadline being imposed," said Jackman.

"I think Ross would be a huge coup so should we give him more time than we might someone else? Absolutely.

"If he goes to another club I will wish him luck because he has been really transparent. It's important for him to have a move that he is 100% sure about, so the worst thing would be to put a deadline on it.

"I think it would rubber stamp what we feel is evident about how we have changed and the start of continuing to change perceptions about the Dragons, but it's not the only measure.

"The fact that Elliot Dee and Leon Brown have broken through into the Welsh camp, Hallam Amos is back in form, Cory Hill is getting consistent game time, Tyler Morgan was picked but got injured and Ollie Griffiths would have been there or thereabouts, so that's another change."

Gatland is only able to select players based outside of Wales on the condition they have won more than 60 caps, which is understood to be the driving factor behind Moriarty's decision to return.

'I love Ross Moriarty'

Jackman refused to confirm or deny if Moriarty would sign for the Dragons on a national dual contract, a deal where a region pays 40% of the player's salary and 60% is paid by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). The Dragons are now owned by the WRU.

Moriarty's impressive displays for Wales and Gloucester last season earned him a place on the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

He played one tour game but, since injuring his back, he has only managed to feature in one match for his club.

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The Dragons are thought to be one of several teams eager to sign the son of former dual-code Welsh international Paul Moriarty.

"I love Ross Moriarty. I think he's a great player - he's quality, he's a great age profile, he's a British and Irish Lion," said Jackman.

"He's a similar to a lot of the players we want to build the team around from Gwent and we're not pretending we're not interested in him.

"We hope we can get him but unfortunately there's no confirmation on that. That's where it's at. We haven't had any negative comments - we've had really good discussions with him. We like his values and what he can bring to the team.

"We're just looking forward to it coming to a conclusion and hopefully the signature falls on a page of paper with the Dragons' logo on it instead of someone else's."

Scarlets were the initial favourites to sign Moriarty, given his father Paul previously worked at the region as assistant coach and it was announced Scotland back-rower John Barclay will leave the Llanelli-based side at the end of the season.

Wayne Pivac, the Scarlets coach, had shown interest in signing the Gloucester forward but that has cooled, appearing to clear the way for Dragons to complete what would be a marquee signing.