WALES tighthead Tomas Francis faces an uncertain Test future after signing a contract extension with Exeter.

The 28-year-old was announced as one of 30 players to agree fresh terms with the Chiefs on Sunday along with Test teammate Alex Cuthbert.

Francis’ contract kicks in for the 2021/22 season, leaving the front rower needing to get 12 more caps to hit 60.

The Welsh Rugby Union selection policy states that players with fewer caps than that milestone need to be with a region.

The policy does not apply to those that have not been called up to a senior international squad, such as Leicester flanker Tommy Reffell, who last week signed a long-term deal with the Tigers.

Francis also profited from a loophole in 2019 when he activated a clause in his Exeter contract that extended his stay, allowing him to remain as part of Warren Gatland’s squad and be the starting tighthead at the World Cup.

The WRU will now have to examine the prop’s latest deal to see if he will be unavailable from next summer if he doesn’t somehow hit 60.

Penarth Times:

Earlier this year Francis suggested that he would be ineligible if he opted to stay in Devon, where he has played since 2014.

"If I don't play for Exeter, then I don't get picked for Wales, so it won't matter," he said.

"When rugby resumes my first aim will be to try and get back in the Exeter team and see where it goes from there.

"At the moment, I don't have a decision to make on any of that. If I do, then it's a tough decision I don't want to make.

"Rob Baxter gave me a shot when I was in the Championship, so it would be tough to see why I have to leave a club that gave me a chance.

"I understand the rules and I see both sides of it, but right now there is nothing I can do about it."

Penarth Times:

Wales are set for a Test-heavy schedule in a bid to raise much-needed funds after the coronavirus crisis but Francis will be limited by World Rugby’s international window.

He will also face a battle for the 3 jersey with Cardiff Blues’ Dillon Lewis and the Dragons’ Leon Brown, who were starter and replacement in the Six Nations while the Exeter prop recovered from the shoulder injury suffered in the World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa.

Sale Sharks WillGriff John was called up by Pivac but wasn’t capped while Samson Lee remains another option.

The Professional Rugby Board gave special dispensation for Rhys Webb to play in the Six Nations while still being on Toulon's books because the scrum-half had announced he was returning to the Ospreys this summer.