Wales and Cardiff Blues centre Jamie Roberts to join Racing Metro
Wales and Lions star Jamie Roberts will leave Cardiff Blues in the summer to join French side Racing Metro.
Last Updated: 08/11/12 8:00am
Roberts, 25, had been expected to join the exodus of Wales internationals and the Blues have confirmed that he will be joining the wealthy Paris club at the end of the season.
He joins the likes of Gethin Jenkins, Mike Phillips, James Hook and Luke Charteris in plying their trade across the channnel.
Blues chief executive Richard Holland said they made a bumper offer - by the club's standards - to Roberts to stay, but admitted they do not have the financial clout of the French Top 14 sides.
"The offer 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," said Holland.
"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."
Blues chairman Peter Thomas could not hide his disappointment at Roberts' departure and warned that unless the WRU helps pay the wages of Wales stars, more will leave.
"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," he said.
"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."