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Rhys Webb explains his decision to quit Test rugby with Wales

By PA
(Photo by Timothy Rogers/Getty Images)

Rhys Webb has become the latest Wales player to announce his retirement from Test rugby before the World Cup. Scrum-half Webb, who won 40 caps, follows his Ospreys colleagues Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric in stepping down.

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All three were members of Wales’ preliminary World Cup training squad ahead of the tournament in France later this year. Writing on Instagram, 34-year-old Webb said that “present uncertainty and difficulties in Welsh rugby” and “an opportunity to play abroad” had influenced his decision.

Webb’s announcement comes 100 days before the World Cup kicks off. He was one of four scrum-halves in the training squad alongside Tomos Williams, Kieran Hardy and Gareth Davies.

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Webb made his Test debut 11 years ago, but he missed out on the 2015 World Cup through injury and was unavailable for Japan 2019 as Wales’ previous selection policy for players plying their trade abroad meant he could not be considered. Webb played for Toulon at the time.

But he was recalled by Wales head coach Warren Gatland for this season’s Six Nations and looked to have an integral role to place in France.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rhys Webb (@rhysw0912)

Webb’s message read: “Having the opportunity to play for Wales again recently has been a huge honour and I am proud to have been named as part of the World Cup training squad.

“However, whilst I would have relished the chance to end my playing career playing for a Welsh region, the present uncertainty and difficulties in Welsh rugby meant there was little opportunity for a contract that offered security for the coming years as I see out my professional career.

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“As such, when an opportunity to play abroad arose during the off-season, enabling me to provide greater career security for myself and my family, I decided to accept the offer.

“I feel that after achieving my goal of returning to the Wales set-up, it is the right time now for me to step away from international rugby and just enjoy my last few years as a professional rugby player.

“I would like to thank the Ospreys for continuing to believe in me, even when my omission from the Welsh squad sometimes had me doubting my own ability, and Warren for giving me a chance to pull the famous red jersey on once again.”

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