Wales centre Jon Davies to join Clermont

Clermont Auvergne have confirmed the signing of Scarlets, Wales and Lions centre Jonathan Davies. He will join at the end of the season and has signed a contract for two years, plus an option of one more. Currently in the final year of his contract at the Scarlets, he will join up with his new club in July 2014.

Davies suffered a serious pectoral injury in Wales’ loss to South Africa at the weekend, that will see him miss the majority of the rest of the season, including the chance to face his future club in the Heineken Cup double-headers in December. He may also miss Wales’ Six Nations campaign.

Jean-Marc Llhermet, the sporting director of Clermont Auvergne, said: “His style of play fits perfectly into the type of game we play and he will bring a lot to us. Despite his young age, he possesses a huge amount of experience of top level matches, and is one of the best players in the world in his position.”

27 thoughts on “Wales centre Jon Davies to join Clermont

  1. At this rate how competitive are the Welsh regions going to be in a couple of years time? The floodgates for players leaving is edging ever wider. Will we see a reduction in the number of Welsh regions in a few years time?

    Personally I want to see strong Welsh regions as this keeps a stronger identity for British rugby and more competition in cross border games. But how do WRU preserve this?

    Interested in comments on these points.

  2. How do the WRU preserve this? Money and a competitive playing environment.

    Money they can only solve by taking the vast sums they make from internationals and ploughing it into the regions. The problem is that this means handing money over without any control as the regions are private entities. That is where the standoff is – there is money but nobody wants to put any in without getting the commensurate power. Messy. Cynics even suggest that the WRU wants the regions to go bankrupt so they can rip it up and start again but this time with the Irish union owned region model.

    Competitive environment – this isn’t a pop at the Rabo, which does fine thank you very much, rather the problem is that the Welsh regions can pretty much forget about challenging for the HC in their present status. The best players want to win these medals.

    However, even if both of the above is improved the real issue can’t be resolved – The French. They’ve stolen a march on all of the other leagues in the NH. Through a combination of timing, TV deals and rich benefactors they have become the richest league in the world and nobody is immune from them wanting the best players. I know the English think perhaps they are immune but to be brutally honest here I think it’s partly due to the French not yet dipping into that market. Why have Farrel when you can have Sexton? Why have 12Ts or Barrit when you can have JD, The Doc and Matt Giteau? It’ll be interesting to see how the “you can’t play for England abroad” works when, as is happening with the Irish/Welsh players, the French come knocking with 100% or more pay rises, better weather, HC medal chances and the chance to live abroad for a while, especially as the French seem quite happy for “training with national team” clauses to be in contracts now. Tuilagi is the one I’d be watching the most closely – if he goes (and why wouldn’t Toulon offer him close to a million Euro’s a year?) then that could be the start of it.

    So maybe this just will be the new order? Wales could be like Brazilian football – amazing talent, thriving club game, top end national team, but teams/regions unknown in the international game? France can be like England football – some of the best clubs in the world but so-so at national level? Where does this leave England? I don’t know.

    It’s all a bit depressing for a Welsh rugby fan which I know will get many on here laughing hard. Schadenfreude.

    Keep laughing, they’ll come for your players next.

    1. Interesting points. I guess the main difference is that the English clubs are able to be more competitive on wages, and also SLs view. Tuilagi will be an interesting one as he is probably the only “irreplaceable” English player right now.

      I’d like to think if it does start to happen – England can be like Spain. A couple of financially viable teams take all of the top national talent (already beginning to happen, see Corbs for example), but still very competitive internationally, and only smaller number playing abroad. I’d take that.

      1. Yes, that’s a good point Jacob. In my original and much longer-winded reply I did have a scenario where England are dominated by Leics/Sarries and then also one of Gloucs/Bath (but that latter one will put the cat among the pigeons…).

          1. Like!

            Sadly as a Glos fan, I’m just feeling sorry for myself at the moment. Don’t feel like getting into an argument about bragging rights this season!

            1. Staggy, just count your blessings that you own your traditional home, are staying there, and are in the right division…..

  3. It does worry me English players might go next. Certainly Toby flood has been linked with a move as his international chances were drying up. Really hope it doesn’t happen!

    Couple of saving graces: the ‘not playing players who have moved abroad’. It has been strictly adhered to (remember when we were all screaming to have Steffon Armitage playing and Lancaster ignored him? Turns out that might have saved us) and players are under no illusions what moving abroad means for their international career- especially with the WC coming up. Look at nick Kennedy moving back to have a shot at getting in the squad. Bet he’s taken a pay cut…

    Also the English are still able to offer decent salaries, not French in size, but if people like north and khan fotuali’i are goin to Northampton they can hardly be small.

    And one final point- player management. I think the English clubs have a better balance on playing time. Some of the players in France got no time off post summer tours and have a much bigger set of domestic games- think a few might burn out. On the flipside if you play for a team like Toulon they have so many great players you might just get lost and hardly get any game time, which is what every competative player wants. Players like Pablo Matera signing for Leicester because he thinks it’ll be best for his career is a very positive sign.

    Long post. But those are my thoughts. Not all doom and gloom for the English yet. Hope the Welsh can rescue their regions as as a Leicester fan the games against the likes of the Ospreys have long been a highlight of the season… Has helped the pain of being thumped at international level

    1. Good points on player burn out Henry and has been one of the oft quoted factors in Ireland players not going abroad. However, I think that the Sexton example shows that there is a financial point at which that breaks down for any player. For the Welsh players right now that threshold is lower as the salary increases on offer are 2x or 3x what they are getting at home.

  4. Brighty. What do you think would happen were Wales to implement a “you can’t play for Wales abroad” rule?

    Would these players still go or would the chance to play for the national team keep some of them in Wales?

    BTW – England’s rule isn’t so much “play abroad and we won’t pick you” as it is “play abroad and we won’t pick you unless you’re really good and/or named Wilkinson”

    1. Has SL ever selected a player from outside of England? I don’t think he has.

      He has been pretty strong on this which I am very happy about. I was in the minority saying we shouldn’t pick Armitage, I’m glad SL agreed with me.

        1. Palmer re-joined Wasps in the summer of 2012, and did play in the 6N that year when he was at Stade.

          BUT, he had already agreed to join Wasps from the following season.

          Haskell didn’t play under SL until he was back at Wasps because he was in Japan then NZ.

          A 5 minute research that I have just carried out on Google suggests Palmer was the only one in SLs first 6Ns squad, nothing since.

          So he has but only with Palmer who was already returning to Wasps a couple of months later.

    2. Pablito, I think it can only happen when there is a certain sized gap between salaries. For example – Eng player goes to France, might earn 10%-15% more but doesn’t play for England (I’m assuming the comparison takes into account Eng appearance fee), plays more games, misses a WC, etc. That’s a decision for an individual to make and he can factor in family life, etc.

      Welsh player goes to France, might earn 100% more. I think not playing for Wales, as painful as it would be, goes out of the window then.

      I think you can also factor in the relatively lower general salaries in Wales in terms of the head turning factor of a whopping Welsh salary e.g. a well educated boy from London might consider the relative merits of 300K vs 500K, a boy from an unemployment blackspot in the valleys might have a more emotional response to 500K. This is a terrible sweeping generalisation I know – I’m not saying Eng rugby boys are all posh, Welsh are all working class, Wales is a dump, etc. I hope you get the general idea of what I mean here?

  5. You’ve got me looking over my shoulder already!!

    Not convinced that many people on this blog will be laughing at the Welsh, when as you rightly say it is a fine balance for the other countries to keep their players as well.

    Not sure how much England players earn – hopefully enough to keep them.

    Interesting comparison between Welsh rugby and Brazilian football. Personally I would say that talent wise it would be NZ and Brazil as the comparison, but I see where you are coming from in your analogy more from a club point of view!

    1. Glad to hear it and agree that those laughing will be in the minority. But they are there. Had enough grief on the weekend to know they are there.

      1. Well Brighty I might say that on occasions you do indeed deserve some grief, however on this occasion probably not!

  6. Brighty, this is sad news. Sad for the welsh game (even if the national team may benefit), and sad for the european game, as it continues the trend of some clubs in one league sucking up all of the best talent.

    Whilst clearly we do see confrontational halfwits around these parts from time to time, I am certainly not “laughing” and neither, I interpret, is staggy.

    Don’t be so cynical about the English view (of which I form part thereof). You say that you “know” that the English “think” that they are “perhaps” immune? I guess with that double caveat, that you mean some English believe they are immune and some don’t?

    Sounds about right.

    For the record, I do not believe that the English are immune, just reference Cockerill’s warblings about Toby Flood.

    the advantage that the English have over Wales in this respect is their legendary strength in depth (often used as a criticism of English rugby). For example, if Twelvetrees goes (to use your example) then there are several who can replace him for England, in the way that it is more difficult for the Welsh to replace their top players.

    Sheridan, Wilkinson, Shaw, Armitages, Balshaw, Sackey and many others are/were not truly missed.

    You can justifiably argue of course that the Welsh players (e.g. Twelvetrees vs Davies) are better but this only excacerbates the problem.

    Of course the likes of Sexton and Roberts are at the top of their game, but it is wrong and overly simplistic to suggest that the English don’t have such an issue because some of the players who don’t go to France, don’t go to France because they’re not good enough.

    The French will take anyone – just ask Joe el Abd and Erik Lund.

    1. Blub, you are right, I should have phrased that better. I don’t mean all English are assuming they are immune, I meant that the situation up to now probably means that some people think it is a Welsh problem. I’ve already seen “Welsh, the feeder clubs of Europe” bating comments on my Twitter feed today.

      In terms of Eng players not going to France I do think relative recent success, both in terms of trophies but also the perceived star quality of their players, has some part in it. Also agree with you though that salaries will be a bigger part. This is why I think Tuilagi is key right now – he’s young, he’s a star and he is exactly what the French clubs want. For the rest of England I think most (let me know if I am wrong) would put their good run of recent down to team rather than stars? The French don’t want to buy a team, they want 1/2p, BOD, Carter, etc.

      Also agree that there is a 2nd tier of Eng players who could end up with entire careers in France as they’re pretty good but wouldn’t get into the Eng side so are perfect squad players for French teams who want massive squads.

  7. Good run down to team? Yes, absolutely.

    I noted on another post about Tuilagi, and I really think that his stock has risen since he has been out of the team. He is one of Englands better players, but I am not sure that he is obviously the star. Lets face it, he did OK on the Lions tour. Though possibly not as well as his England team-mates Corbisiero, Parling and Tom Youngs. Admittedly, he has a bit of “box office” about him.

    Potential though – massive, and I am sure that there are French clubs looking at him. I am just not sure that the problem in England is the same.

    Leicester, Saracens, Northampton and Bath seem comfortable, and seem to manage the salary cap well enough.

    I also suspect that because England can (more practically than Wales) not pick the foreign based players, it does have an effect. I am not saying Wales should do this too, just that it works in England.

    Although, I wonder whether James Hook and Lee Byrne (for whom they could cover when they went to France) would not have played more in the last few years had they stayed here.

    1. Byrne is a good example – he’s been mouthing off a fair bit on Twitter recently, expressing his displeasure at not being picked for the current Welsh side. I agree that if he’d played here he would be picked more. I think our overseas approach is “if you’re on a relatively close selection call with a home player, then we pick the home player every time”. As others have said, this is because needs must. We couldn’t go around not picking the likes of North, Lydiate (yes Staggy, even Lydiate), etc. Players that have missed out due to not being such standout picks are Peel, Hook, Byrne, Brew – all guys that would have more caps if they stayed at home I think. What annoys me is that Byrne cannot see the link there – at least he can’t seem to judging by his Twitter rants. Seems he thinks it makes no difference where he plays, but it does and it should.

      Agree on your 4 sides – so the 8 underneath them may be the ones who suffer. I think the disparity between French and English wages will increase as Rugby seems on course to be the #1 sport over there.

      1. Not convinced that the problem for Byrne is where he plays his rugby, it’s more which position. If 1/2p wasn’t around he’d be in the team!

    2. On a slight side note from your general point; Tuilagi got injured at the beginnning of his second warm up game (after playing brilliantly in the first), then was out until just before the second test (he played in the mid-week game before that test and looked very good but could only last an hour after some time out), so wasn’t selected for the 2nd test then had a cameo in the third test. So I agree with you that he didn’t have much impact on tour but I disagree that he isn’t that “star”, he definitely is.

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