Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill has questioned prop Rhys Carre’s decision to join Saracens.
The 21-year-old made his first Guinness PRO14 start for the club in February against Edinburgh but had featured heavily off the bench for much of the season as an impact sub.
Despite his size (6’3, 132kg) the youngster is renowned for his ability around the pitch as a powerful ball carrier.
Speaking with the BBC Mulvihill believes Carre’s decision to move may backfire.
“It could be a big blow to him and his pathway,” he said.
“He has had some really good development through all the under-age pathways and you have got people who are here for him and to make him better.
“When we did finally sit down and talk with him it was substantially a bigger offer than he received from Saracens.
“So that was probably the disappointing thing that it’s not about money. He just felt his development would be a lot quicker in leaving.
“Sometimes in development the best place is right in front of your face, but he could not see it. Sometimes people make decisions and we move on.”
The so-called ‘Gatland rule’ means only players who’ve picked up 60 caps or more are eligible for selection when plying their trade outside Wales. However a loophole means because he’s not picked up a senior cap yet it does not apply. Carre is not the first person to take advantage of that loophole, fellow-prop Tomas Francis has availed of it, because he signed his deal before the Gatland rule came into place.
“I know he has spoken to Wayne and the current Wales coaches, but that could have possibly come too late,” the Cardiff Blues coach said.
“I still believe his best way forward would have been to stay and he would be in the Wales set-up in the next 12-14 months.
Mulvihill also confirmed that ‘Project Reset’ did have an effect, with Saracens pouncing on uncertainty surrounding the club game in Wales.
“When you have that window, people come in and have a look and that is what has happened with Rhys.”
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.