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Wales
Warburton defends central contract
ESPN Staff
January 30, 2014
Sam Warburton's central contract has caused all kinds of controversy in Wales © PA Photos
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Wales skipper Sam Warburton insists more players will take up a central contract with the Welsh Rugby Union despite the regions seemingly washing their hands of the deal.

The regions released a statement on Wednesday saying they are "bemused" by the WRU's move to centrally contract Warburton and insisted they are yet to agree to play players who are tied down on such a deal.

Warburton, in his column for the Telegraph, reiterated his wish to continue playing for the Cardiff Blues and insisted more players will follow suit and sign central deals with the Union.

"I think central contracts can work, and will work," Warburton wrote. "I am sure more Wales players will sign up, and it will become clear that it is not the WRU competing against the regions. It is about everyone working together.

"I told the union I only wanted to sign a central contract if I could play for the Cardiff Blues. I am Cardiff through and through and would find it uncomfortable playing for anyone else. If I had not been able to play for the Blues, it would have been back to the drawing board."

While Alun Wyn Jones' future is secure in Wales having re-signed for the Ospreys, but not on a central contract, Rhys Priestland is yet to reveal his hand having been linked with a move to Gloucester, Wasps or France.

"I would just like to see how things pan out," Priestland said. "I find it difficult because I don't know all the facts so it's hard to make a fully informed decision.

"The sooner I can sort it out the better. I have spoken to Leigh, Alun and Sam, and they all feel a weight off their shoulders (after deciding their futures). I think it would be better if I stayed in Wales, but nothing is set in stone yet."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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