Rob Howley worried by Gallic drift of top Welsh talent

 

Jamie Roberts, the outstanding Cardiff Blues centre who can expect to start for the British and Irish Lions against the Wallabies in Australia next summer, returned to the Wales squad yesterday after a lengthy spell of injury hassle and is certain to feature in the Red Dragons' opening autumn Test against Argentina next month. No worries there. The interim head coach, Rob Howley, did, however, express concern over the way the careers of a number of high-profile players, Roberts included, are panning out.

Roberts is expected to end his association with the Blues at the end of the season: the cash-rich Parisians of Racing Metro favourite to lure him to France. If Roberts goes, he will join the likes of James Hook, Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins and Luke Charteris on the far side of the water and, with the crack Newport-Gwent Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate also being talked of as a potential Tricolore recruit, the problem for Welsh rugby is likely to intensify.

Those players currently in France will not attend next weekend's training camp in Poland – a key element in the reigning Six Nations champions' conditioning programme – because of club commitments across the water. In addition, they are unlikely to be available for the last contest in the forthcoming international series – against Australia in Cardiff on 1 December – because that game falls outside the agreed Test window.

Howley said that he and Warren Gatland, the Wales coach currently on secondment to the Lions, had spent the best part of a week in France on what amounted to a diplomatic initiative aimed at getting on the right side of coaches at Perpignan, Bayonne and Toulon – one that failed to bear fruit.

"It was important to go there and try to create a relationship," Howley argued. "If you don't try, you're always going to get a negative answer. Ideally, we want everyone to stay in Wales, but we understand that in terms of supply and demand, it isn't going to happen. We need to find a solution – a Welsh solution – but it won't happen overnight. As for Jamie, we've been in discussions. I think his position is a little different: I don't think it's a financial decision with him. He's going to be a doctor, so he might just buck the trend and go for reasons other than money."

Lydiate was not considered for the 35-man squad because of injury, while the celebrity centre Gavin Henson was omitted because he has played so little rugby of late. "He's thoroughly enjoying his time at London Welsh, so we'll let him play and see where he is next season," Howley said, in naming a single uncapped player in the Ospreys front-rower Aaron Jarvis.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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: 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'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power