Will Rowlands retains ‘great hope’ of Wales World Cup spot after Dragons exit

Will Rowlands says it is his “great hope” to play for Wales at next year’s World Cup after his departure from the Dragons was confirmed.

The former Wasps lock will leave Rodney Parade at the end of this season.

He looks set for a move to French club Racing 92, which would make him unavailable for Test rugby because of current Welsh Rugby Union selection guidelines.

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The policy says that players plying their trade outside of Wales are not eligible for Test selection unless they have won at least 60 caps.

Rowlands, who was a key Wales performer during Wayne Pivac’s three-year reign as head coach, falls well short of that figure.

“I am sad to be leaving Dragons RFC at the end of this season, but would like to thank everyone involved with the club for their support over the past 18 months,” Rowlands said.

“It has been a pleasure to play at Rodney Parade, and I know that the future is bright for this club.

“I have no doubt that we are just beginning to see the seeds of that in the performances of the team, and that they will go from strength to strength.

“It is still my great hope that I will be able to represent my country in the World Cup 2023, if called upon.”

Rowlands, who is currently recovering from a shoulder injury, is likely to feature in the plans of Pivac’s successor Warren Gatland, whose Six Nations squad is set to be announced next month.

Will Rowlands
Will Rowlands in action for Wales against New Zealand (David Davies/PA)

Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan added: “We are obviously disappointed to be losing a player of Will’s quality.

“But despite the best efforts of ourselves, Will’s representative and the WRU over the last 12 months or so, we were unable to reach agreement on terms for the future.

“Since arriving in Gwent, Will has been a hugely positive influence on our group, captaining the side and being named Wales’ player of the year.”