Cardiff frustrated at Jamie Roberts’ departure

Jamie Roberts

Jamie Roberts is to leave Cardiff Blues at the end of this season to join Racing Metro in Paris.

The club released a statement this morning in which their frustration was obvious, bemoaning the structure of Welsh rugby and the fact that they simply cannot compete with higher-paying countries.

Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland said in the statement:

“The offer that we made to Jamie was an extremely attractive one and would have seen him become certainly the highest paid player in the Blues squad, and arguably in the UK.”

“As a business we simply don’t have the resource to compete with the offers that Jamie has received.”

“Naturally we are disappointed that Jamie has decided to leave the region but we wish him the best of luck with his career.”

“Given news of Jamie’s departure we will begin the search to find a suitable marquee player who will be eligible to play for us throughout the entire season.”

Cardiff Blues Chairman Peter Thomas added,

“We have invested a lot of time, money and effort developing Jamie as a rugby player from an early age after identifying him as a star of the future.”

“We have stuck by him through thick and thin and supported him during last season when he only completed two matches for the Blues because of his knee injury and international duties, playing 15 matches for Wales.”

“It is impossible for the Welsh regions to compete with the kind of money that is on offer from other clubs in other countries.”

“The time has come that the Welsh benefactors should not be responsible for funding the professional game.”

“The chairman of the regions can guide companies but if we want to keep Jamie Roberts and other international players in Wales then the governing body has to intervene.”

“The player drain out of Wales, which has a negative impact on the Welsh regions and the national team, will only continue without increased funding from the governing body.”

“As an example with our recent game against Leinster, the IRFU pay for fourteen of their players and additionally fund the province for the remaining players in excess of 4 million euros. Compared to the cost of the Cardiff Blues squad that’s almost double.”

“You’ll never win the Heineken Cup with that margin to compete with.”

“The governing body has to take far more responsibility.”

I actually met Roberts at a PR event before this year’s Six Nations, and he mentioned that he’d like to play in France for the experience of it, suggesting that this move is not all about the money.

But Cardiff’s dissatisfaction with the whole thing is obvious. Can anything be done to prevent the Welsh exodus? Are wholesale changes required?

11 thoughts on “Cardiff frustrated at Jamie Roberts’ departure

  1. The interesting thing about this is I read an article somewhere with JR where he said that he doesn’t expect his career to go on and on as he feels he has a duty to become a working doctor after the amount of money invested into his medical training. If I recall correctly (might not be), I think he was basically saying that he wanted to experience all he could in a short time so he could then happily move onto his career as a doctor.
    Whilst money obviously played a part, as a highly qualified guy (who will no doubt get a well paid job) I don’t think this will have been the deciding factor and the pull to play in a different league in a different country against some of the world’s best players will have been the primary consideration.
    Would be interesting to know whether he intends to return to Wales for his medical career, maybe he wanted to live somewhere else for a while before returning.

  2. If money is the driver or not in this case who knows. But until the WRU and regions start working together rather than fighting each other the situation isn’t going to improve. There is work to be done on both sides as has been show by the review/audit that was published recently.

    WRU needs to support the regions more not just financially but also in marketing. Remember that people who support the regions will also support the national team, 2 birds 1 stone principle.

    The regions need to get proper business plans in place for both on and off pitch club growth.

  3. Downward spiral at the moment. The best players leaving = clubs being less competitive in domestic and European competition = best players being less happy about playing for clubs/regions without the aspirations to compete at the top level = best players leaving, etc, etc.

    The only way to stop this is with money being chucked at the regions.

    It’s scary that it wasn’t long ago that many of us (myself included) were holding up the welsh regions as the template for developing players (which to be fair it has done), feeding the international team (which it has done to date) and providing competitive welsh teams (less so recently). Without a cash injection this may run aground on the rocks.

    Aviva Premiership watch out! Although the RFU (ERFU!) do have more funds to chuck at the problem it seems.

  4. Roberts has acted fairly in giving the Blues due notice of his intentions he is 25 and fancy free and who wouldn’t want to live in Paris for a few years at that age at say double your maximum wage here . THe Welsh media hardly help (Western Mail the main culprit) naming preferred teams in which Roberts is dropped for current lack of “form” when he has been playing himself back in after a cruciate operation in a Blues side which has been pretty dire this season .He’s probbaly glad to get out of the goldfish bowl.

    Wales missed the boat not following the Irish model from the start but I can’t understand how the Irish Rugby Union can provide twice the funding the WRU does per region isn’t the Aviva stadium only two thirds the size of the Millenium for instance?

    1. Not always about what you can do but what you want to do. Regions keep talking about benefactors who I guess have some sort of ownership rights to the regions. So why should the WRU fund private enterprises?

      Deliberately putting an opposite view

    2. The success of the Irish teams in Europe directly effects the IRFU revenue streams. My understanding is Heineken Cup prize money is paid to the Unions and filtered down to the provinces through funding. You also see Leinster moving big pool games and all knockout games to the Aviva which is gives the IRFU a share of the gate recepts to games that attract 45,000 minmium. All semifinals in Ireland played at the Aviva which are gauranteed sell outs to which the IRFU get a share.
      When you put it in context the Cardiff Blues couldnt fill the Cardiff City stadium for European games so they have no chance of drawing a crowd that would make a game at the Millenium Stadium fiancially viable. The Blues return to the old Arms Park said it all.

  5. Can always look at this positively? You welsh chaps seem to have an infinite stream of developing, talented young centres. Scott Williams would definitely do a job there for wales.

  6. Jamie is a great player but the blues wont miss him that much as new better players come in, the french side offered him a great deal its a club, and cardiff blues will deal with i quickly. No suprise here with a few welsh players Located in the french league

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