ADVERTISEMENT

Gallagher Premiership clubs linked to Welsh international

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Sunday Dec 3, 2023

In a challenging period for Welsh rugby, United Rugby Championship side the Ospreys find themselves in a precarious position as they strive to retain the services of loosehead prop Nicky Smith loosehead who is reportedly coveted by English champions Saracens and several other Gallagher Premiership clubs.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 29-year-old Welsh international faced similar temptations last season, with Saracens, Bristol Bears, Exeter Chiefs, and Northampton Saints all expressing interest, Welsh news outlet WalesOnline have reported.

Despite the lure of these offers, Smith ultimately committed to a new contract with the Ospreys. However, the siren call from across the Severn Bridge has resurfaced, with Saracens leading the charge, accompanied by at least four other Premiership clubs, and even French teams expressing their interest.

Known for his destructive scrummaging prowess and versatility around the field, Smith is viewed as the type of player who could excel in the competitive arenas of England or France. With 46 caps for Wales under his belt, Smith could potentially move abroad and still remain eligible for international duty under Warren Gatland.

The timing couldn’t be more challenging for Welsh rugby, as all four professional clubs face a reduction in playing budgets from £5.2 million to £4.5 million in the upcoming season. Compounding this financial strain is the burden of repaying debt at an 8.25% interest rate to the Welsh Government for all four regions.

Given these financial constraints, it is anticipated that retaining senior Wales internationals will prove a formidable challenge for Welsh clubs. George North, a Test centurion, is expected to bid farewell to the Ospreys, likely joining French club Provence Rugby. In the case of Nicky Smith, the Ospreys are undoubtedly eager to keep him in their ranks, but they do boast the presence of Wales’ first-choice loosehead, Gareth Thomas, and the promising talent of Garyn Phillips at the Swansea.com Stadium.

While nothing is set in stone, the looming financial crisis facing Welsh rugby makes it increasingly likely that players like Nicky Smith will attract attention from clubs in England, France, and even Japan, all keen on exploiting the vulnerabilities of the Welsh regions.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments




Related Articles

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bielle-Biarrey & Penaud stunning long-range...

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Springbok star leaves Ulster Rugby following...

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Jonny Gray to exit Exeter Chiefs with immediate...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Bordeaux prop scores the ultimate front row try in the Top 14

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Northampton Saints youngster George Hendy seals the Premiership title

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Springbok centre tears it up in the Top 14 for a crucial hattrick

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    English winger leaves defenders in his dust for long range score in Top 14

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Bath's Beno Obano shown red in the Premiership final

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    World Player of the Year BANNED heading into Paris Olympics following horror challenge during Madrid SVNS

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Debate surrounding ludicrous rugby league tackle leaves union fans baffled

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Courtney Lawes: 'We don't need to have a 10/10 performance or do anything out of the ordinary'

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Player handed LIFETIME ban for shocking tackle on referee

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Leinster prospect pulls off outlandish footballing skills in URC quarterfinal

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Wild start at Twickenham as Quins pull off another wonder-try

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Tickets now on sale as World XV set to face France in thrilling encounter

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    '60 metres, plus change' - massive drop goal stuns fans

View All

Funnies

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Former French star's 'tackle of the season attempt' goes viral

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Hilarious interaction between Simon Zebo and journalist

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    Louis Rees-Zammit's real reason for NFL move exposed

View All

Amateur

  • 75 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 75 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 98 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 98 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 98 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Andy Goode includes Joe Marler in his England XV to beat New Zealand on summer tour

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Beno Obano receives judgement following Gallagher Premiership final red card

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    URC Awards: Jamie Richie turnover king and a big win for Jack Crowley

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Gloucester confirm prop switch to Saracens

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Several top stars to miss Scotland's summer tour as Gregor Townsend announces squad

View All