Scott Baldwin has been added to Wales’ squad ahead of the Six Nations as a replacement for injured Ospreys colleague Dewi Lake.
The 34-year-old Baldwin last played international rugby in 2017 and replaces Lake, who suffered a knee injury during the Ospreys’ Champions Cup win over Leicester.
Baldwin, a former Harlequins and Worcester Warrior, has joined the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) squad for next week’s opener against Ireland.
Injury headache for Warren Gatland
While Ryan Elias is injured, Wales head coach Warren Gatland has the option of using Ken Owens and Bradley Roberts as number twos. Another major blow for Lake, who was injured during the Autumn Nations Series but has since returned to the Ospreys.
His last appearance for Wales was against Samoa in Apia and he has won 34 Test caps. As mentioned, Wales will start the Six Nations campaign at home against Ireland before traveling to Murrayfield to face Scotland in Round Two. He hopes to change those statistics in the upcoming Championship.
Wales’ 60-cap selection rule debate
In other news, Gatland believes there is a need for discussion on Wales’ 60-cap selection rule amid uncertainty surrounding the futures of several players. As of 2017, players inked deals to play rugby outside Wales were deemed ineligible unless they had at least 60 caps.
The problem is magnified by a recruitment freeze that affects Cardiff, Ospreys, Dragons and Scarlets, the four professional regions of Wales. The regions and the WRU have yet to sign a new financial agreement, raising concerns that players’ existing contracts could expire at the end of this season.
Will Rowlands is about to sign for French club Racing 92 next season after leaving Wales and Dragons. Unless the Welsh game’s Professional Rugby Board changes its selection policy or he receives a special dispensation from the Welsh game’s Professional Rugby Board, he would not be able to join Gatland’s Rugby World Cup squad later this year.
Something we need to talk about
“I think it (the 60-cap rule) is definitely something we need to talk about,” Gatland said. It would be disappointing if some players missed the World Cup.
In terms of getting the agreement between the union and the regions sorted out, there has been so much turmoil. I think it would be a positive step. The players are exploring their options because Welsh rugby is currently experiencing a level of uncertainty, particularly among those who are out of contract at the moment.
It is completely understandable for them to consider their own personal circumstances. My goal is to keep our top players here in Wales. At the moment, I am not sure if we need to examine the 60-cap rule, because with so much uncertainty in Welsh football at the moment, is it fit for purpose?”