As you may know, there is still one remaining international Test fixture to take place and this is when Wales and South Africa face off against one another at the Principality Stadium this weekend.
This will be Wales’ fourth Test match of the Autumn after playing the Wallabies, Georgia and the All Blacks. As we have seen from the recent world rankings, the Springboks and Wales remain in fifth and seventh, respectively, after an indifferent November. Both teams will be looking for a victory to end 2017 on a high.
However, technically, this fixture falls outside of the Test window and according to a report in the Bath Chronicle, Bath could face a fine or sanctions such as a points deduction from Premiership Rugby because they have released Faletau to play for Wales this weekend against the Springboks.
Premiership Rugby has a policy to prevent clubs from releasing non-English players outside of official Test windows throughout the year.
A Premiership Rugby spokesman stated: “The policy of the Premiership Rugby clubs on releasing non-England players under World Rugby’s Regulation nine, i.e. only inside the Test windows, is still in place.”
According to the report, it is understood that Faletau joined Bath on the basis that he would be able to play in all of Wales’ fixtures.
The Northampton Saints were fined four years ago for releasing George North to play for Wales.
On the other side of the coin, Allister Coetzee won’t have Francois Louw available to him on Saturday because he will play for Bath this weekend rather than the Springboks, so it is interesting that one Bath player is released for international duty and the other one won’t be.
Coetzee told the Guardian:
“I just follow regulation nine (availability of international players) and, from our point of view, Francois Louw is definitely not available for us.
“I cannot comment on the internal arrangement in the north but, if there is any agreement, I do not know about it.”