THE WRU may soon be accused of building castles out of sand following the news that Jonathan Davies is to move to Clermont Auvergne next season.
The French outfit today confirmed that the 37-cap centre, who has been ruled out for up to five months after damaging a pectoral muscle against South Africa last week, will sign a two-year deal in July, with an option of an extra year on top.
This comes after assertions from the national set-up that leading players with contracts due to expire – Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Leigh Halfpenny, Sam Warburton and Davies – would be offered centralized contracts and more money would be freed up for regions to coax such players into staying. The offer had worked to keep Toby Faletau at the Dragons, however, the castle walls may be crumbling with Davies the first to opt-out.
The fear is that the others will follow suit, with Halfpenny already linked with a move to Toulon in previous months. It is also worth noting that Warburton has previously stated that he would wait until the issues between Heineken and the breakaway group proposing the European Champions Cup are resolved and Adam Jones told Rugby World in the November issue that “at the end of the day if teams are going to offer you stupid money to go out there and play in a pretty tough league where I can test myself against the best in the world every week, I should.”
Talking of the deal with Davies, Clermont sporting director Jean-Marc Lhermet said: “We are delighted to welcome Jonathan to the next season. His profile fits perfectly to the game we play and he will bring us a lot.
“Despite his young age, he has a huge experience of top level matches and is one of the world’s best players in his position.”
How many other world-class players will leave Wales?
To read about what makes Jonathan Davies tick, check out our exclusive interview with the centre in the December edition of Rugby World – out now!