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RaboDirect PRO 12
Welsh chief Lewis slams French 'vultures'
ESPN Staff
December 7, 2012
Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis, Wales press conference, Grand Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand, October 17, 2011
Roger Lewis is unhappy at the number of players moving to French clubs © Getty Images
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Wales rugby chief Roger Lewis has slammed the actions of big-spending French clubs saying they are acting like "vultures" by picking off the country's star talents.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Dragons back row Dan Lydiate will be the next big name to leave the RaboDirect Pro 12 in favour of the cash-rich Top 14 league in France, following the likes of Mike Phillips, James Hook, Lee Byrne, Luke Charteris and Huw Bennett. Welsh centre Jamie Roberts is also set to move to Racing Metro at the end of the season.

With better financial incentives available to players in the Top 14 due to no wage caps, Lewis says the situation is becoming serious and that it will be one of the key issues for the newly-formed Professional Regional Game Board (PRGB) to look into. The board has been set up in order to oversee the professional game in Wales following a report into the regional game.

"These are tough economic times in Wales and Welsh rugby is under attack," Lewis told Wales Online. "The vultures have been circling for months, picking off Welsh players like pieces of meat.

"The announcement by the WRU and the four regions of the creation of the PRGB means that we will work together to tackle this issue. I am particularly concerned about the role played by agents in this player-drain from Wales."

Welsh prop Adam Jones is also rumoured to be considering a move across the Channel but has stressed that he will remain with Ospreys until the end of next season.

"I have another year left on my contract after this and obviously if you go on the Lions tour and do well then you put yourself in the shop window," said Jones. "There are so many things you have to think about, especially when you have a young family, but I know James Hook has gone out to Perpignan and loved it. I would never say never, though at the moment I am happy with the Ospreys."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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