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.

exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor