Hawkins explains Exeter move that has left him ineligible to play for Wales
Wales international Joe Hawkins is “gutted” to miss out on the World Cup after prioritising his “professional development, personal development and financial security” by agreeing to join Exeter.
The 20-year-old centre – who will join the Chiefs from Ospreys at the end of the season – said he has been deemed ineligible to play for his country, with his five caps falling short of the 25 required by the Welsh Rugby Union for players playing outside Wales.
However, Hawkins has insisted he had little choice with no contract on offer in his native country, and claimed he was previously being “underpaid”.
He said in a statement on his social media accounts: “Gaining my first cap for Wales in the Autumn Internationals was an incredibly proud day for my family and I, and continuing to wear the Welsh jersey in the Six Nations fulfilled a childhood dream of mine.
“Unfortunately, I have been deemed ineligible to play for Wales and the opportunity to play in the World Cup is no longer a possibility. I wish the boys and staff the best of luck and I am truly gutted I can’t share this journey with them.
“I want to acknowledge that by signing for the Exeter Chiefs, my first professional contract, I have fully prioritised my rugby career. I have done so with my professional development, personal development and financial security in mind.
“The turbulent period in Welsh rugby, where there were no contracts on offer in Wales, put all out-of-contract players under pressure. Witnessing the number of players currently out of a job in Wales has reinforced my decision.
“Further, while I have spent the last three years playing professional rugby, and later, international rugby, I have been held to an ‘academy contract’, being significantly underpaid.”
Hawkins was not included in Warren Gatland’s 54-man preliminary World Cup training squad when it was announced on Monday, but has vowed to use his time in England to fulfil his potential.
He said: “As a passionate rugby player, my ultimate goal is to fulfil my potential for both my club and country, despite this being put on hold for now.
“However, I am very grateful and excited to focus on next season with my new club. I am determined to work hard and achieve success with my new team-mates at Sandy Park over the coming years.”
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While I generally support the 25 cap rule, in this particular case it should be waived.
The lad had no choice but to look elsewhere for a contract as, thanks to the WRUs incompetence, it was not actually possible for him to be offered a contract by a Welsh region. What else was he supposed to do? He was effectively forced out.
In addition, it is ludicrous that a full Welsh international was on an academy contract.
And I’m not an Osprey supporter!
He wasn’t an international when he signed the contract. The transition contract would have ended on June 31st. He lied about speaking to Exeter and now says he was in talks with them last October thus blocking the offer of a new Ospreys contract. The 8 months still to elapse on his contract means the talks were in breach of RFU “tapping up rules” which could result in fines for him, his agent and Exeter. It could also result in a points deduction and a civil damages case as per the van Rensburg case. He is greedy, immature and ungrateful… Read more »
Do be careful to avoid signing any contract that binds you until “June 31st”!
I’ll defer to your obviously better knowledge of this situation. Having said that, he’s 20 so I think a certain amount of immaturity should be allowed for. Also, I still feel sorry for him, particularly if Exeter broke the rules in the way they approached him.
Nid yw’r rheol hurt hwn yn gwneud unrhyw synnwyr o gwbl! 😲 Onid yw pob gwlad angen pob chwareuwr gorau a mwyaf addawol i‘w cynrychioli a chwarae yn y tim cenedlaethol?
Wrth gwrs. Ond gan fod cymaint mwy o arian gan dimoedd Lloegr, Ffrainc a’r Iwerddon mae angen rhywbeth i gadw ein chwaraewyr ifanc talentog yng Nghymru. Nid yw’r rheol yn berffaith ond heb rywbeth o’r fath, bydd y gêm broffesiynol yng Nghymru yn marw.