Rhys Webb eligible for Six Nations selection as Wales make special dispensation for home-bound scrum-half

Jack de Menezes

Rhys Webb will be considered for Wales section in this year’s Six Nations, despite the scrum-half not returning to the country until the summer.

The 31-year-old announced last week that he will return to the Ospreys next season after French side Toulon agreed to release him from his three-year contract 12 months early, due to his family returning to Wales after failing to settle across The Channel.

Webb has signed a two-year deal with the Welsh region that will put him back into the mix internationally, with head coach Wayne Pivac only allowed to select players who play for one of the four regions who compete in the Pro14 or those players based abroad that have at least 60 caps. At present, Webb falls well short of that tally with 31 to his name.

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But the Welsh Rugby Union have confirmed that due to the half-back having committed his future the Ospreys, he will be considered for the upcoming Six Nations that gets underway on the opening weekend in February.

The Professional Rugby Board accepted an application from Webb to allow a “six-month dispensation from the Senior Player Selection Policy”, which means he will be considered for international matches for the remainder of the season.

The move puts Webb in the frame to feature in Wales’s opening Six Nations match against Italy on 1 February, though he was already due to be eligible for the summer tour of New Zealand as his new contract begins on 1 July 2020.

The British and Irish Lion will compete with current scrum-halves Gareth Davis, Tomos Williams and Aled Davies for a place in Pivac’s squad,

Webb’s availability is similar to a decision made by the Rugby Football Union in recent years, with Eddie Jones selecting both Piers Francis and Brad Shields while they were still based in New Zealand in 2017 and 2018 due to their agreed moves to the Premiership.

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