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Wales in danger of losing 21-year-old future star Mason Grady as interest builds from abroad

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Thursday Jan 11, 2024

There’s been a lot said in recent times surrounding the budget cuts in Welsh rugby, and the effects that they have had on players committing to the regional sides. Well, the conversation has once again risen its ugly head, with young star Mason Grady facing the very real possibility of putting an immediate stop to his international future.

Grady has been a revelation for Cardiff Rugby since signing his first professional contract with them in 2020. Standing at 6 ft 5 in and weighing almost 18 stone, Grady would be expected to take his place in the second row, but his size and pace have taken him all the way out to the wings.

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CARDIFF, WALES – DECEMBER 16: Mason Grady of Cardiff Rugby runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Cameron Redpath and Tom de Glanville of Bath Rugby during the Investec Champions Cup match between Cardiff Rugby and Bath Rugby at Cardiff Arms Park on December 16, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Tearing it up for URC side, Cardiff Rugby, Grady has been a fan favourite for ‘fantasy rugby’ teams, with his incredible work rate and general ability leading him to become one of the highest points scorers in the game. The choice to include the talented youngster may not be in the Welsh club’s remit soon, however, with the salary cap being reduced to just £4.5 million.

“With the salary cap it’s going to be very hard for any of the regions to hold on to five or six top-end Wales players,” said Cardiff head coach Matt Sherratt.

“So if players are going to leave, let’s make sure it’s players at the end of their career, who have been great servants to the game, because it would be really sad if a 21-year-old like Mason Grady left Welsh rugby. That would be very worrying.

“One of the downsides to this year is that other clubs would be mad not to look at some of our younger players because they’ve done so well. Mason also has the physical attributes where he’s always going to be high on other clubs’ lists.”

Will less than the required 25-caps to qualify for Welsh duties under his belt, it means that should Grady make the move abroad, even just over the Severn Bridge, he will become ineligible for international duties under current rules.

NANTES, FRANCE – OCTOBER 07: Mason Grady of Wales leaves the field as the players of Georgia give the players of Wales a guard of honour at full-time followingthe Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Wales and Georgia at Stade de la Beaujoire on October 07, 2023 in Nantes, France. (Photo by Pauline Ballet – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Sherratt remains hopeful that Grady will choose to continue his rugby education at the club he made his debut for at just 17 years old: “I’ve let Mason get on with his rugby. His friends are here, he’s happy, he’s being picked and we hope he stays with us.”

Bath, Saracens and Exeter Chiefs are all reportedly chasing the signature of the young man, with Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson confirming his side’s interest, saying: “Who wouldn’t be interested in a Mason Grady if you had space in your squad and the cap for them,” 

“He’s a supreme multi-sport athlete… his brother played for Wales, his mother played for Welsh basketball, he played basketball. He’s got aerial ability, speed and youthful enthusiasm where he’s going to grow.

“You have to keep looking to strengthen your squad and potentially he could be one of those to do that, so we had a chat to him and we’ll see where that lands, that’s no secret.”

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