Rugby Union: Jenkins transfer in doubt after row at Pontypridd

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The Independent Online
NEIL JENKINS' record-breaking transfer hung in the balance last night following an internal battle between the directors at Pontypridd. While the Cardiff chairman, Peter Thomas, said he was confident he had reached a binding deal with the Pontypridd director of rugby, Eddie Jones, at the weekend, the Sardis Road chief executive, Cenydd Thomas, held a different view.

So even though Cardiff staged a press conference signing for their latest international recruit yesterday, Ponty- pridd's four-man executive board were in talks last night trying to determine whether or not the pounds 175,000-plus-player deal brokered by Jones was legally binding.

The row over the deal left Jones fuming, Cardiff concerned and Pontypridd looking like a club in total administrative disarray.

"As far as I'm concerned I was given authority to conclude the Neil Jenkins transfer deal on behalf of Pontypridd," said Jones. "On Sunday I was told by some of my fellow directors that I didn't have the authority to do the deal - they now wanted more money because Cardiff had failed in their bid to sign Shane Howarth. If they say the deal is off, then I'll be off.

"I shook on the deal with Peter Thomas on behalf of Pontypridd Rugby Club and now my personal integrity is being called into question. I'm not having that."

Thomas was consulting with his legal team last night to ensure that his club had done everything correctly and he remained confident he had got his man yesterday. As for Jenkins, he is just looking forward to linking up with his Welsh international half-back partner Rob Howley at the Arms Park over the next four years and he is confident the deal will eventually go through.

The Wales hooker Garin Jenkins is poised to quit Swansea and sign for Newport by the end of this week. The 31-year-old is expected to sign a three-year deal that will see out his career at Rodney Parade.

The Wallaby wing Joe Roff has turned down several offers to commit himself to another three years with the Australian Rugby Union. Roff will continue to play with the ACT Brumbies in the Super 12 competition as part of the ARU deal.

Roff, who scored two tries in Saturday's 32-6 win over South Africa, was approached by several English Premiership clubs and even had an offer to study at Cambridge University. He has played 42 Tests for Australia, forming a powerful back- three combination with Matt Burke and Ben Tune.

His decision comes in the wake of Tim Horan turning down a bid by Bristol - he wants to remain in Australia until the end of next year.