Trans-Severn exodus warning as Cardiff lose Lewis

Cardiff may be the new Welsh champions, but the failure of rugby's politicians to deliver a British league has rendered the richest club in the principality seriously unfashionable. Andrew Lewis, their gifted 26-year-old international prop, yesterday confirmed his departure from the Arms Park after signing a three-year deal with Bath.

Almost simultaneously, last autumn's World Cup captain, Rob Howley, gave the strongest possible hint that he would soon follow his club-mate across the River Severn. Rated the best scrum-half in the world as recently as 1997, Howley has received approaches from Harlequins and Gloucester, but is thought to be more tempted by a move to Leicester, the Allied Dunbar Premiership leaders and title favourites.

Howley was in no mood to shed too much light on his thinking yesterday, but he effectively signalled the end of his Cardiff career by saying: "The club recently came back to me to speak about a new contract but, to be honest, I now feel my future lies over the bridge."

If Howley is true to his word, those leading figures in the Welsh club game who warned of a new exodus of talent in the absence of a cross-border agreement with the English will feel justified in their pessimism. "There is no great secret here," said one influential member of the Cardiff management recently. "The domestic game in Wales is nowhere near strong enough to sustain the wages we're paying. Unless there is a British league, the best players will soon be heading across the bridge, where the match quality is better and the salaries are higher."

Bath are not alone in fishing for the best Red Dragon talent, but they have been getting more bites than most; the most exciting back-row talent in Wales, the 18-year-old No 8 Andrew Lloyd, is already on the Recreation Ground books, as is the outstanding scrum-half prospect Gareth Cooper. Their success in luring Lewis across the great divide to replace Victor Ubogu, who retires at the end of the season, is a setback for Graham Henry, the Wales coach, whose stated policy is to keep his international contingent on home soil.

Another Welshman, the former Saracens coach Mark Evans, has been appointed chief executive at Harlequins. His arrival coincides with the addition of the ex-England scrum-half Richard Hill to the coaching panel at The Stoop.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project