The presence of ten English-based players in Wayne Pivac’s Wales squad for the Six Nations has caused a lot of confusion on both sides of the Severn due to the 60-cap rule. 

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Currently, any player with under 60-caps for Wales cannot be picked if they are not playing for a Welsh region. This, therefore, excludes both Northampton Saints’ Dan Biggar, Bath’s Taulupe Faletau and Saracens’ Liam Willams, although he is due to return to the Scarlets. 

However, there are seven more players that are still based in the Gallagher Premiership who are in the squad, including the uncapped quartet of Lous Rees-Zammit, Nick Tompkins, Will Rowlands and WillGriff John. 

Because these were obviously uncapped when they signed their contract with their clubs, they are exempt from the ruling. 

This was also the case for Rhys Carre and Jonah Holmes when they signed for Saracens and Leicester Tigers respectively. Similarly, this ruling was not in place when Gloucester’s Owen Williams was first capped for Wales in 2017. 

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While this explains why they are in the squad now, it does throw their futures into doubt. Unless a player has 60 caps at the end of their current contract, which none of those seven will have, they must play for a Welsh region in order to continue to be eligible for Wales. 

This happened last summer as Cardiff Blues winger Josh Adams moved from Worcester Warriors, having been capped for his country after his last contract at Sixways. 

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The concern is that there will be an exodus in the coming years, as players seek to continue representing Wales. 

Gloucester were wise to this over the past week, tying Rees-Zammit down to a long-term contract extension to ensure he remains at Kingsholm for a few more years. 

Tompkins’ Saracens contract also does not expire until 2022, meaning he still has two more seasons with the English and European champions. 

Exeter Chiefs showed the way around this ruling last season by giving Wales prop Tomas Francis a contract extension rather than a new contract, as the ruling only stipulates that the players cannot sign new contracts outside of Wales. Then again, these contract extensions will have to be something that the players want to sign. 

Therefore, while there are ways around such a ruling, there are worries that players at clubs across England will have to leave in the future unless the ruling is scrapped by the end of their contracts. 

Elsewhere, Rhys Webb also finds himself in the squad despite playing for Toulon. This debacle has transpired over the past few weeks and although he was previously excluded from the Wales squad due to being at Toulon, he can now make his return having signed for the Ospreys ahead of next season. 

WATCH: Wayne Pivac announces his squad for Wales’ 2020 Guinness Six Nations campaign 

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