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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

As Wayne Pivac teeters on the edge of finding new gainful employment after a series of disappointing results, the wider-lens story tells of dysfunction and frustration

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Newcastle resigned to being without 3 Pumas for Prem start

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Dave Walder, who has taken over the Newcastle Falcons director of rugby role vacated by Dean Richards, is resigned to being without his Argentina trio of Matias Orlando, Matias Moroni and Mateo Carreras for the start of the season.

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While attention has been focused on the limited use Premiership clubs will get from their England internationals in the league this season with the players likely to appear in just 11 of the 24 rounds due to test match duties and training camps, the requirements of other nations are also impacting the English game.

Centres Orlando and Moroni are in the Pumas team to face New Zealand in Christchurch this weekend while wing Carreras is also in the squad for the Rugby Championship which ends on September 24 and leads into the November test window. Newcastle have to weigh up the benefits of dragging them back to the UK for the short period between international duty as Argentina play England on November 6, Wales November 12 and Scotland November 19.

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It is particularly tough for Walder and Newcastle who have assembled a trio of Pumas they believe can help the club avoid another season of underachievement. Moroni is waiting to make his Newcastle debut having helped Leicester win the Premiership title last season.

Walder has moved up from head coach to replace Richards who is expected to have and advisory role with the club and said: “We can call them back in their weeks off but by the time you bring them back from Argentina to then go back it’s not worth it. We start against Harlequins at home on September 10 and the Argentine players are in the Rugby Championship squad while Quins won’t have their England guys and possibly Andre Esterhuizen who broke his arm. I want to see as many of my players appearing in test rugby as possible but there is a part of me saying that you shoot yourself in the foot.”

Walder’s view of the problem created by having England internationals away for long periods is central contracts which have not been possible in the English game as the players are “ loaned” from the clubs. He added: “You are almost in the argument for centrally contracted players because you get the situation where players are only available for 11 rounds of the Premiership and if you are an owner and you are paying someone top dollar but not getting for more half the season, then it becomes very interesting.

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“Clubs are going to have to decide how many guaranteed England players they can carry in their squad when they are away for so long. It’s a big dilemma. From the outside looking in it must seem madness and off the top of my head I cannot think of an easy answer. Somebody is going to have to take the financial hit.

“Personally, I can see why coaches would take the attitude that why are we are paying a player 100 per cent of his wages and only seeing him for 50 per cent of the season. “

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