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Luke Charteris: Wales would benefit if Liam Williams join Saracens

Published 25/11/2016

Luke Charteris, pictured, feels that Wales will benefit from Liam Williams' likely move to Saracens
Luke Charteris, pictured, feels that Wales will benefit from Liam Williams' likely move to Saracens

Luke Charteris believes Wales would benefit from his international team-mate Liam Williams' expected move to English and European champions Saracens next season.

Saracens have so far not commented on any swoop for Williams, but speculation is rife that a two-year deal could be revealed in January.

Former Newport Gwent Dragons lock Charteris, who will win his 71st cap against South Africa on Saturday, had spells with French clubs Perpignan and Racing 92 before joining Saracens' Premiership rivals Bath earlier this year.

And he has no doubt that Scarlets back Williams would thrive in the Saracens environment.

"I've spoken to him a fair bit about it, and for him I think it's a great move," Charteris said.

"He will be playing in an unbelievable team, in a great league in the Premiership next year. He will flourish in it and go from strength to strength."

If Williams heads to Allianz Park, then he could require a wildcard selection to play for Wales next term.

The Welsh Rugby Union's senior player selection policy restricts the number of players plying their trade outside Wales. The current figure is three squad members per international campaign - those places are filled by Jamie Roberts, George North and Taulupe Faletau - rising to four next season.

Charteris, who is exempt from needing a wildcard, added: "I understand from Wales why they want to keep players here, but from a selfish or a player's point of view I think it's undoubtedly the right move.

"Wales as a national team would benefit from that because he will come back with more experience in Europe with Saracens, and there will be little things he can pick up from them. And there are only four teams in Wales, so it opens up another spot for someone else.

"For me, it was the best thing I did moving outside Wales. From a personal point of view, for family, I've loved the experience, and from a rugby point of view, I feel I definitely feel I developed from being out there.

"There are certain boys who have moved and it hasn't worked for them, for whatever reason, and they've been much happier back home, whether that is with family support around them or familiarity or whatever.

"I certainly do understand about having the best players in Wales in terms of selling it to the public, but I think the fact we only have four teams, you have to have some of those playing away."

Charteris and Williams will both be part of a Wales team targeting just a third victory over South Africa in 32 attempts this weekend.

The form guide suggests a Wales win, but Charteris, who made his Test debut against the Springboks 12 years ago, is wary of South Africa's threat despite their poor form and fielding a much-changed team.

"I know they've had a lot of stick, but they have been playing in the Rugby Championship and there are quality teams," Charteris added.

"Their press has been on to them, but they are still in the top three or four in the world. Italy (conquerors of South Africa last Saturday) played an unbelievable game and put a lot of pressure on them - and probably us because of that.

"The game is faster now than when I made my debut (in 2004), although maybe I've slowed down a bit over the years!

"It's crazy when you think 12, 13 years have passed, but it doesn't seem it when you are in these continuous seasons. It flies by and all blurs into one."

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