Jamie Roberts celebrates a try against Benetton Treviso. ©INPHO/Huw Evans
quids in

Diagnosis money: Welsh Rugby Union follow Irish lead to lock in Jamie Roberts

The Cardiff Blues centre, who is studying to be a doctor, may get a fancy mála scoile out of this.

THE WELSH RUGBY UNION is about to break with its stated position on player contracts in an effort to tie up Jamie Roberts with Cardiff Blues.

The WRU usually steers clear of involving itself directly when players are negotiating contracts with clubs.

Warren Gatland, in his role as Wales coach and again with the British & Irish Lions, has actively tried to discourage Welsh players from signing up with English Premiership or French Top 14 sides.

However the union leaves negotiations with players up to the four clubs that compete in the RaboDirect Pro12. Irish players, on the other hand, are contracted with provinces but with financial assistance from, and commitments to, their country.

With Toulouse reported to be preparing a £400k a year contract for Roberts in the summer, the WRU has broken ranks to stem the exodus.

Advanced stage

The Rugby Paper reports that Cardiff Blues and Roberts, who is studying in Wales to become a qualified physician, are in talks to sign the centre to an extended contract.

Blues chairman Peter Thomas commented, “Regional rugby on its own cannot offer the massive amounts which some countries are paying.

“However, a combination of region and country together gives us every chance of finding a solution.

“I spoke to Jamie (On Monday). I know he would be delighted if we put a package together which will keep him at the Blues through to the next World Cup.”

Racing Metro attempted to sign Roberts’ Blues teammate Alex Cuthbert during the summer before he was signed up to an improved contract.

Welsh internationals Gethin Jenkins and Mike Phillips are currently playing in the Top 14 with Toulon and Bayonne respectively.

Read: Blazing squad: Doug Howlett happy to lead Munster into Stade de France hot-house

Read: Exiles: Steenson the hero as Chiefs topple Conor Shea’s Harlequins