Has Rhys Webb Ruled Himself Out Of Playing In the 2019 World Cup?

Warren Gatland has been given more bad news following Sean O’Brien throwing the Wales coach under the bus with the Irishman’s comments of the Lions coaching.

The flanker’s suggestion that the Lions would have won the tour with a different coaching team was then supported by Billy Vunipola, who didn’t shy away from the debate that Eddie Jones is a superior coach to Gatland:

“For me to sit here and say the Lions would have probably won is wrong. But personally, my opinion is that if Eddie Jones went as coach they would have won 3-0. He is that good.”

The 54-year-old has now received the news that Lions and Welsh scrum-half, Rhys Webb will join French Top 14 side Toulon next season.

“It’s a huge wrench to be leaving the Ospreys after spending all of my playing career with the team,

‘I will continue to give the region everything I can to make sure we have the best season possible and I would like to conclude by saying a heartfelt thanks to everyone within the region for helping me achieve my goals within rugby.’

‘I would like to thank the WRU and the Ospreys for their efforts during this process.”

— Rhys Webb

Despite the efforts of Ospreys and the Welsh Rugby Union to retain the services of Webb, the pulling power/financial reward for joining the French outfit was too strong to turn down.

The predicament for Gatland is that he will have a selection headache ahead of the 2019 World Cup, as the WRU only allow two players to be picked for Wales who play abroad.

Gatland can select up to four players next year, but the number is halved at the time of the World Cup. With the likes of Liam Williams, Taulupe Faletau and Dan Biggar all playing their rugby outside of Wales, Gatland could be without some his A-listers in Japan.

With strength and depth in the nine position not in its best state in Welsh rugby, it would be the turn of Gareth Davies to fill Webb’s boots for the World Cup should he not be included in the two-man selection policy of overseas players.

Although the move will develop Webb’s game abroad, as well as improving his bank account, it could be to the detriment of another World Cup appearance.