Wales center Joe Hawkins says he is “gutted” about missing out on the Rugby World Cup after prioritizing his “development and financial security” by agreeing to join Exeter Chiefs.
The 20-year-old center has released a statement on his social media accounts after being deemed ineligible for Wales following his decision to sign with Exeter.
He is set to join Premiership side Ospreys at the end of the season, and his five caps are fewer than the 25 required by the Welsh Rugby Union for players playing outside Wales.
“It was an important part of our future”
After announcing his 54-man preliminary training for the World Cup, Warren Gatland commented on the situation and said Hawkins was part of his future plans in Wales before he was deemed unfit.
“We told him he was a big part of our future and certainly in 23, in midfield or at 10,” Gatland said, “We’re disappointed he made that decision. He feels at the moment that going to play rugby in England will be good for his development.
“He felt that he was potentially undervalued a little bit. He was offered a pretty significant deal and he made the decision to move forward.
The highly regarded center insists he didn’t have much choice as he had no contract offers on the table from the Welsh regions and claims he is underpaid.
Statement by Joe Hawkins
The statement on his social media accounts read: “Getting my first cap for Wales in the Autumn Internationals has been an incredibly proud day for me and my family, and to continue to wear the Welsh shirt in the Six Nations has made a dream come true of mine. of childhood.
“Unfortunately, I have been deemed ineligible to play for Wales and the opportunity to play in the World Cup is no longer a possibility. I wish the guys and the staff the best of luck, and I’m really gutted that I can’t share this journey with them.
“I want to acknowledge that by signing for Exeter Chiefs, my first professional contract, I have given full priority to my rugby career. I did this with my professional development, my personal development, and my financial security in mind.
“The turbulent period in Welsh rugby, where there were no contracts on offer in Wales, put pressure on all out-of-contract players. Seeing the number of players currently out of work in Wales has strengthened my resolve.
“Furthermore, whilst I have spent the last three years playing professional rugby and, later, international rugby, I have been held to an ‘academy contract’, being significantly underpaid.”
“As a keen rugby player, my ultimate goal is to fulfill my potential for both my club and country, although this has been put on hold for now.
“However, I am very grateful and excited to focus on next season with my new club. I am determined to work hard and achieve success with my new team mates at Sandy Park over the next few years.”
TO KNOW MORE: Rugby World Cup: Wales training squad winners and losers
The article Joe Hawkins: Wales center ‘really gutted’ that his Rugby World Cup dream is over first appeared on Planetrugby.com.