Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Jenkins hopeful over Australia game

Talks are ongoing for Welsh internationals based in France, including Gethin Jenkins, pictured, to be released for the autumn Test against Australia

Toulon prop Gethin Jenkins has not given up hope on playing in the autumn Test finale for Wales against Australia.

France-based quartet Jenkins, James Hook, Luke Charteris and Mike Phillips are unavailable for Wales's pre-autumn training camp in Poland, starting next weekend, because of Top 14 club commitments. It is also highly unlikely they will make the Australia clash on December 1 as that game falls outside the International Rugby Board fixture window and clubs are not obliged to release their players.

"I don't think I am going to Poland. I will be back (with Wales) after our Stade Francais game, which is on November 1," said Jenkins, who when asked about the Wallabies fixture, added: "We will wait and see, fingers crossed. There are ongoing talks, and we will see what happens when it comes to that situation."

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley accepts that a solution to Welsh international rugby's overseas player departures will not be found overnight. But he is confident discussions between the Welsh Rugby Union and four professional regions - Cardiff Blues, Scarlets, Ospreys and Newport Gwent Dragons - can reach a satisfactory conclusion.

"Warren (Gatland) and myself went over to France and had five or six days with the various coaching teams in Bayonne, Toulon and Perpignan," Howley said.

"There are ongoing discussions with those players based in France. At this moment in time, those players are unlikely to be involved in the Australia game. But it is important we look at every individual case and why that player is going to France.

"If they are being head-hunted, then surely between the agent, the player and the club president there can be some sort of arrangement or discussion that the player becomes available for some preparation time or a game outside the IRB Test window.

"It was important for us to go to France. If you don't try, I think you are always going to have a negative answer. We wanted to open discussions and try to create a relationship.

"Ideally, we want everyone to stay in Wales, but we understand in terms of supply and demand that is not going to happen - from a players' perspective and from a region's perspective - and we just have to get on with it and manage our players the best we can.

"We need to find a Welsh solution. At this moment in time there is a lot of good talk going on between the regions and the Welsh Rugby Union, and I am sure at some stage a solution will be found."

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