Wales lock Luke Charteris to leave Newport Gwent Dragons

 

Wales lock Luke Charteris is to leave the Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of the season, the Welsh region have announced.

The 28-year-old, who has been with the Dragons since the inception of regional rugby in 2003, was one of the stand-out performers during Wales' recent march to the World Cup semi-finals, including a towering individual display in the quarter-final win over Ireland which saw him make a remarkable 16 tackles in the first half before being forced off with an injury.

With the 6ft 9in forward's contract running out at the end of the season he had been heavily linked with a move away from Rodney Parade, and he will leave to join an undisclosed European team, with French side Perpignan, home of fellow Wales international James Hook, the favourites to land his signature.

"I've really enjoyed my time at the Dragons," Charteris said. "I have had some amazing team-mates here and the coaching team have been really good to me.

"However, being a professional rugby player gives an opportunity to travel and see the world which I feel I can't pass up.

"The chance to live in a different country and enjoy a new culture and way of life is one not everybody gets. A player's career doesn't last forever and I want to experience as much as I can.

"I have always been very clear that if I was to stay in Wales it would be with the Dragons. This is my region and it has been a really difficult decision to decide to move on.

"I'm only 28 and I see the Dragons as my home team so after a stint abroad I could perhaps come back a better player to Rodney Parade.

"I'd like to thank everybody at the Dragons who has helped and supported me through the ups and downs and especially the Dragons fans. We are really lucky at Rodney Parade to have the supporters we do."

Charteris' decision to ply his trade outside the principality comes just weeks after Wales coach Warren Gatland warned that squad members not playing club rugby in Wales risked missing out on selection for the national side if they could not make themselves available for squad sessions.

Player release for squad members in Wales is covered by the Participation Agreement between the four regions and the Welsh Rugby Union, but clubs in England and France are not obliged to release their players for periods outside the designated International Rugby Board Test windows.

Charteris' exit from the Gwent side may also reignite the debate about the funding of the professional regions.

Cardiff Blues' backs coach Gareth Baber had earlier this week echoed previous calls from Ospreys supremo Scott Johnson that the regions should receive top-ups from the WRU in an effort to enable them to hold on to their best players.

Hook, Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne have already made moves to France, while props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones have also been linked with moves to French clubs.

Dragons director of rugby Robert Beale said "We are obviously disappointed to be losing a player of Luke's calibre and I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Luke for his services and professionalism whilst at the Dragons."

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'