Wales's rugby regions warned: 'Watch out for French raids'
WALES'S rugby regions have been warned they need to get on the front foot if they are to repel the next surge of interest in their players from Europe's wealthiest clubs.
The message comes from a leading rugby agent, who reckons the Ospreys, Scarlets, Blues and Dragons need to start preparing for a fresh wave of approaches from leading teams in France, in particular.
Stars out of contract next summer include Dan Biggar, Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate.
And if they and others are to be persuaded to stay, the advice is that their regions should already be putting in plans in place to repulse would-be suitors.
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"The Welsh regions need to be proactive and on the front foot," said the agent, who declined to be named. "My advice is that they should be prepared and have their budgets ready so they are in a position to re-sign players or even bring in new ones.
"So much of this depends on good organisation. You can guarantee that the clubs in France will have their targets already and be ready to go when the process starts up."
The Blues have conceded that there is no hope of them keeping Roberts without financial help from the Welsh Rugby Union.
Their chairman Peter Thomas predicted over the weekend that such assistance was likely to be forthcoming.
The hope is the union have plenty of cash put to one side, for Biggar is as important to the Ospreys, and Lydiate to the Dragons, as Roberts is to the Blues.
Lydiate, Six Nations player of the season in 2012, will probably be able to name his price as he approaches the end of his deal at Rodney Parade.