Scrum-half has opted out of World Cup to move abroad

Scrum-half Rhys Webb has retired from Wales duty to move abroad having initially been named in Warren Gatland’s World Cup training squad.

The 34-year-old could still represent the national side even if he wasn’t playing in Wales as he is above the new 25-cap threshold but Webb has ruled himself out of the running to be one of the nines that go to France.

Related: Wales legends Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric retire

Webb returned to Wales action in this year’s Six Nations, making his first start in three years, but has decided to end his international career in the pursuit of greater security for the end of his playing days outside of the uncertainty and financial troubles that have plagued Wales this season.

He is the third senior international to announce their Wales retirement in the lead up to the World Cup after Justin Tipuric and Alun Wyn Jones.

Rhys Webb retires from Wales – statement

In a statement released on his Instagram page, Webb said: “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 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.

Read more: Alun Wyn Jones to play for Barbarians AND Swansea

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

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