Luke looks France bound

Luke Charteris is destined for foreign shores after confirming he will leave Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of the current season. [more]

Luke looks France bound

Luke Charteris is destined for foreign shores after confirming he will leave Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of the current season.

The future of the Wales second row has been in the spotlight for some time following an outstanding World Cup campaign in which he played a key role in his country’s surge to the semi-finals.

Charteris is out of contract at Rodney Parade this summer and has now admitted he intends to play his rugby outside of Wales next season, with France, Japan or even Australia, New Zealand and South Africa possible destinations for the 28-year-old.

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

"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.

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

"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."

French giants Perpignan are the favourites to secure Charteris’ services next term, although his agent admits no deal has yet been done.

Perpignan signed 2009 Lion James Hook last summer but Wales coach Warren Gatland has warned his Test stars that a move to France could harm their international careers unless they ensure their contracts include the same release clauses as their Wales-based colleagues.

Fellow Lions Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne joined Hook in the Top 14 this term and Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins have also been linked with similar switches.

Charteris’ agent, Christian Apt, confirmed that his client is currently in talks to follow suit and that a deal could be announced in as little as a few days.

"We are quite far down the line in terms of speaking to a number of options for Luke," Apt, who admits the biggest talking point with all interested parties is the issue of Charteris’ availability for Wales Tests and training camps, told BBC Radio Wales.

"It’s quite complicated because we need to try and ensure that his Welsh interests are still best served by getting the necessary release clauses in whatever contract he will be signing.

"Perpignan is one of the clubs that has shown significant interest. We have had discussions with Perpignan but we’re speaking to a couple of other franchises as well. We have had interest from one Super 15 franchise and also a Japanese organisation.

"We expect a deal to be done relatively soon. We are quite happy with the discussions we’ve had – it’s just a case of trying to come to the final agreement. It could be a few days or it could be a few weeks."

Charteris is currently out injured with wrist damage and is not expected back in action until after the RBS 6 Nations at the very earliest but Apt insists there is no chance of him leaving the Dragons before the end of the season.

"It’s a four or five month injury and he’s very determined to get back before the end of the season so he can make himself available for the summer tour," added Apt

"There’s absolutely no truth in him leaving the Dragons prior to the end of the season."

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