Confusion over which Welsh stars will face Boks

Rhys Priestland (AFP)
Rhys Priestland (AFP)

Cape Town - There appears to be confusion in the Welsh camp over which players are available for Saturday’s Test against the Springboks in Cardiff.

READ: Bok starting role for Gelant in Cardiff?

The match falls outside World Rugby’s Test window which means players plying their trade outside of their home countries do not have to be released by their clubs.

The Springboks will be without forwards Francois Louw (Bath, England), Duane Vermeulen (Toulon, France) and Franco Mostert (Ricoh Black Rams, Japan), while flyhalf Elton Jantjies (NTT Shining Arcs) has been made available by his club in Japan.

Five of Wales’ stars - loose forward Taulupe Faletau (Bath), utility back Owen Williams (Gloucester), prop Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), flyhalf Rhys Priestland (Bath) and centre Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) - ply their trade in England and it’s unclear whether the players will be allowed to face South Africa this weekend.

The policy of Premiership Rugby - the umbrella organisation which represents the country’s top 12 clubs - is to not allow release of non-England players for Tests outside the window.

That policy was waived it a year ago for Wales’ clash with Australia and other internationals the same weekend “as a gesture of flexibility”, but Premiership Rugby has since stressed it was a “one-off”.

However, according to the Wales Online website, it seems some behind-the-scenes discussions are taking place, with nobody prepared to comment publicly on the situation at present.

The English clubs do however risk fines by Premiership Rugby if they release their players.

Both the Wales and South Africa teams are expected to be announced on Thursday.

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