Roberts close to new deal

2009 Lion Jamie Roberts is close to signing a new dual contract with Cardiff Blues and Wales. [more]

Roberts close to new deal

2009 Lion Jamie Roberts is close to signing a new dual contract with Cardiff Blues and Wales.

The double Grand Slammer, who was the Lions’ Man of the Series in South Africa, is a target for big-spending clubs in France.

Racing Metro are reportedly weighing up a £400,000 a year contract for the giant centre but his region and country are set to join forces to ward off the interest.

"I like to think it will all be done in the next month," Cardiff Blues chairman Peter Thomas told The Rugby Paper.

"Regional rugby on its own cannot offer the huge amounts that some countries are paying. However, a combination of region and country together gives us every chance of finding a solution.

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“I spoke to Jamie as recently as yesterday (Saturday). I know he would be delighted if we could put a package together which will keep him at the Blues through to the next World Cup.

"Jamie is very relaxed about the future and appreciative of what people are doing on his behalf.

“Provided he is looked after commercially and financially to the level he deserves he will stay in Wales.

“I am very confident that the current discussions will result in the right solution being found."

There has been an increasing player drain from Wales in recent seasons and former Lions Dwayne Peel, Andy Powell, Lee Byrne, Mike Phillips and James Hook all play their trade outside the Principality.

The four regions, Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, the Ospreys and Scarlets implemented a self-imposed £3.5m salary-cap in the summer and a host of further internationals, including two-tour Lion Gethin Jenkins, Luke Charteris and Aled Brew crossed the Channel.

But the potential agreement on Roberts could pave the way to the regions and the Welsh Rugby Union combining forces in the future, in the form of dual or central contracts, to hold onto their prized assets.

"The regions are all working with the WRU to make that happen so that the best players remain in an environment where they are looked after, kept in prime condition and not flogged to death," added Thomas.

"When a player goes out of Wales he doesn't get 13 days off before an international. The Welsh internationals in France get six.

"That's no good for the Welsh team. Preparation is everything. We have an amazing set of youngsters in Wales. We have to ensure their future is here."


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