WALES captain Sam Warburton has received abuse for signing a central contract with his national union even though he could have been paid twice as much by moving to France, according to his agent.
The 25-year-old flanker became the first player to sign up with the Wales Rugby Union (WRU) over the weekend. His Cardiff Blues contract is due to expire later this year.
The central contract with the WRU, seen as a way to stop Welsh talent moving overseas, will mean Warburton can be loaned back to the Blues at no cost to the club when he is not needed for international duty, provided the WRU secures an agreement with the four domestic regions.
The political divisions in Welsh rugby have led to Warburton, who has not played since November due to injury, suffering online abuse accusing him of being a "scab" and betraying his club.
"Some of the uninformed vitriol aimed at my client has been disgraceful," Warburton's agent Derwyn Jones said.
The abuse came despite the fact Warburton could have followed the likes of Leigh Halfpenny out of the domestic game.
The full-back left the Blues this month for French Top 14 side Toulon who, along with Stade Francais, was a potential destination for Warburton.
A move to either of those clubs could have earned the Wales captain up to £700,000 per season.