Premier Rugby hit back in player release row

Premier Rugby insist they are merely abiding by International Rugby Board rules after Wales head coach Warren Gatland described the situation governing his English-based players' release for World Cup duty as "ridiculous".

Gatland hinted that Wasps back-rower Andy Powell and Sale scrum-half Dwayne Peel could miss out on World Cup selection next year because they will only be available for national duty on August 4, two days before Wales' first warm-up game against England.



The New Zealander said: "The major concern is we have had a letter from Premier Rugby saying players in England will not be released until August 4.



"That is completely ridiculous to say the players will finish [the season] in May but not be available for national squads until August, two days before we play England in our first warm-up game.



"It's going to limit players playing in England being available in terms of preparation or being available for the squad.



"Picking this squad we have looked at this campaign and the Six Nations, and if a player playing across the (Severn) bridge is unavailable until August 4 it is highly unlikely they will be considered for the World Cup squad."



However, Premier Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty defended his organisation's position, and told the Daily Telegraph: "This is an International Rugby Board regulation that players only have to be released 35 days before a tournament.



"We didn't lobby for this at all. And no one has said anything about it until this point. It's not an issue for us although it's been characterised as such. It's disappointing when others start to beat the drum and portray us as the bad guys."



Wales players playing in their homeland are available whenever required by the national squad following last year's five-year participation agreement between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four professional regions.



Similarly, England have an eight-year deal in effect between the clubs and the Rugby Football Union, but no such agreement exists for Welsh players employed by English clubs.



Meanwhile Gatland is looking forward to working with Scott Andrews and George North after naming the uncapped pair in his squad for next month's autumn internationals.



Cardiff Blues prop Andrews and Scarlets wing North have made impressive starts to the new Magners League season with their regions and Gatland says they have earned their places in a 33-man squad which has seen experienced campaigners like Shane Williams, James Hook, Tom Shanklin, Gethin Jenkins and Martyn Williams return after missing the summer tour to New Zealand.



"We have been impressed over the last 12 months with Scott Andrews," said Gatland as he revealed his party for meetings with Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand.



"He has had time at tighthead for the Blues and he has put some weight on from last year, so physically he is in good shape.



"George is only young but he has really set the start of the season on fire with his form. Unfortunately he has an injury and he is a week or two away from being fully up and running, but he is big and physical."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015