Warburton signs central contract with Welsh Rugby

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Sam Warburton has become the first Wales international to sign a central contract with the Welsh Rugby Union.

As part of the landmark arrangement announced Saturday, the WRU says it will pay Warburton — the current Wales captain — and release him to his club side Cardiff Blues "at no cost to the region." WRU chief executive Roger Lewis says "I am sure this will be remembered as an important moment for rugby in Wales."

Welsh rugby has seen a slew of its top players leave the country's financially stricken regions to play in France and England, who have Europe's richest two leagues. Lewis says "Welsh rugby together cannot stand back any longer and watch its best players leave Wales."

Related Headlines

  • Wales lose Davies, Jones for last 3 autumn tests

    Wales will be without center Jonathan Davies and prop Adam Jones for the remainder of the autumn series because of injuries sustained in Saturday's bruising loss to South ... 

  • Jamie Roberts

    Wales crushes 14-man Scotland 51-3 in 6 Nations

    Wales cut loose after a first-half red card to Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg to cruise to a seven-try 51-3 win at Millennium Stadium, ending the deposed champions' patchy Six ... 

  • Quade Cooper, Toby Faletau

    Wallabies beat Wales 30-26 in Cardiff

    Australia left no doubt who wears the pants in this matchup when it bossed Wales 30-26 without any need for late heroics at Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Their last three ...