Shane Williams urges local youngsters to remain in Wales

 

Shane Williams understands the attraction of big-money moves to France but has urged Wales' young stars to continue to ply their trade in the principality.

Welsh rugby has recently had to face the sobering sight of many of its best prospects heading to play in France.

Lee Byrne, James Hook and Mike Phillips moved across the Channel at the end of last season, while Luke Charteris, Gethin Jenkins, Aled Brew and Huw Bennett are among those leaving at the end of this campaign.

The Welsh regions are unable to compete with the financial might of the French clubs, and are to operate under a £3.5million salary cap from next season as they look to adapt to the difficulties of the current economic climate.

With Wales having recently won another RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam with young players like George North, Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate to the fore, there are fears that there will be a further drain on Welsh talent, with Cardiff Blues' wing Alex Cuthbert the latest to be reportedly weighing up a move to France.

Ospreys wing Williams, who will play his final match when the Barbarians face Wales in June, himself attracted the attention of French clubs during his illustrious career.

And while he understands the attractions of a move away, he wants to see the best Welsh talent remain in Wales, ensuring their availability for the national side.

Wales' record try scorer said: "There are massive financial benefits of going abroad but the last thing I want to do is encourage players to leave Wales.

"As a Welsh fan myself, I'd much prefer to see these boys playing in Wales, but current economic times don't help that.

"With Cuthbert, he's got a big rugby future ahead of him. Is it the time to go? I can't tell you that.

"I'm sure the figures the likes of Toulon and Racing Metro are chucking around at the moment are making it very difficult for the youngsters.

"It's very appealing and it's a big step from what they're earning at the moment. There's pros and cons with both.

"I wouldn't want to be one of these players who encourages youngsters to go abroad but you can't blame them either.

"I'd love to see them stay. I'd much rather see the likes of Cuthbert and these youngsters staying in Wales and playing for their regions, and then making it easier for them to play for their country.

"But that's almost an impossible feat at the moment because the French sides are chucking so much money at these youngsters. You really can't blame them for going."

North's devastating mix of power and pace means he is likely to attract the attentions of the likes of Toulon and Racing Metro, but the Scarlets wing has reiterated that he is committed to staying in Wales.

"I am happy where I am," he said. "I am contracted to the Scarlets for a couple of years and I can't see me leaving, I am enjoying my rugby in Wales.

"I can understand boys wanting to go to France. It's a short career and you want to make as much as you can but I am pretty happy with where I am."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee