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Blues chief confident of keeping Roberts

Guinness PRO12 Editor

8 Oct 2012

Cardiff Blues chairman Peter Thomas has revealed the region are working with the WRU to develop a dual contract system that could keep Jamie Roberts in the country.

The Wales centre’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the season and he has admitted he may be tempted to seek pastures new away from the RaboDirect PRO12.

Roberts could follow in the footsteps of James Hook, Mike Phillips and Gethin Jenkins by heading to France with Racing Metro and Toulouse reportedly interested in securing his services.

But Wales head coach Warren Gatland is keen to halt the trend and keep his players based in their home country with French clubs not required to release players for Wales outside the IRB window or for all training sessions, and Thomas is confident of finding a solution.

“I like to think it will all be done in the next month,” said Thomas.

“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.

“I spoke to Jamie. 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.

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

“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.”