Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Club Rugby

Exodus continues as Wales flanker Dan Lydiate announces switch to France


Wales flanker Dan Lydiate is to continue the player exodus to France after it was announced today that he will leave the Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of the season.

The 24-year-old was named player of the tournament for last season's Six Nations as Wales won the Grand Slam but missed the autumn internationals with a broken ankle.

Lydiate's injury was not serious enough to put off his French suitors, who are thought to be Racing Metro, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Dragons director of rugby Rob Beale said: "We are obviously very disappointed that Dan has decided to leave the Dragons. He has been a key part of out set-up for several years and is popular both with the players and the coaches.

"I can assure our supporters that we did all that we could to retain Dan but we simply cannot compete with the offers which have been put on the table."

Lydiate (right) made his debut for the Dragons in 2006 but suffered a serious neck injury the following season, which threatened to end his career.

But he made a full recovery and has been a part of Wales' set-up since 2009, earning 27 caps and helping his country reach last year's World Cup semi-final.

The number of players making the move from Britain to France is increasing, with no salary cap in place for French sides thus meaning infinitely higher wages.

Racing Metro are the latest French team on the rise with club president Jacky Lorenzetti among the richest men his country and is keen to sign big-name players ahead of a move to a new 25,000-seater stadium.

Racing are also thought to be the destination of Lydiate's international team-mate Jamie Roberts, who plans to quit Welsh domestic rugby at the end of this season.