Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Scarlets hit back at WRU claims

The WRU has accused Scarlets of trying to offload George North

The Scarlets have rejected the Welsh Rugby Union's criticism of their handling of George North as the four regions hit back at the governing body's incendiary attack on them.

On Sunday, the WRU issued a press release covering several areas of the domestic game in the principality. The most notable content in the statement accused the Scarlets of touting North, who has a year left on his current contract but is a target for Northampton, to clubs in France last summer without the Wales wing's knowledge.

The WRU also claimed they were prepared to help the west Wales region hold on to North by tying him to a central contract, only to discover the regions had an agreement in place not to field any player who was centrally contracted.

But the Scarlets have rubbished those suggestions and asserted that far from actively seeking to offload North, they have done all they can to retain the 20-year-old.

Their statement read: "The Scarlets are astonished and disappointed that the governing body of Welsh rugby has chosen to speak about an individual player from within our region publicly in this fashion.

"We must therefore clarify, that at no time has the WRU made any proposal to us to help retain any player international or otherwise within our region.

"Any contract discussions involving George North have only taken place within the last two months including the Scarlets offer of a three-year contract extension that was the very best offer that the club could make.

"As is usual business practice, any contractual discussions regarding players take place with their agent or representatives responsible.

"As the Scarlets have publicly stated, it has been our wish to retain George North within our Scarlets squad and the region has put forward a substantial offer to keep him in West Wales - an offer which still stands.

"We also recognise, George is a player of immense talent and has many options available to him in his future playing career."

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