Roberts receives Wales assurance over Quins deal

Frank Dalleres
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WALES head coach Warren Gatland has given centre Jamie Roberts the green light to join Harlequins by confirming that he will not freeze out players who sign for clubs outside of their homeland.

England boss Stuart Lancaster has stuck rigidly to a policy of excluding foreign-based stars, resisting the temptation to pick successive European players of the year in Nick Abendanon and Steffon Armitage.

Gatland is also keen for his players to be home-based but favours a more nuanced regime, freeing Roberts to complete an expected move from Racing Metro to Quins at the end of the season.

“There’s not a hard and fast rule as there is with England,” he said. “There are exceptions where players have been playing outside of Wales and there are one or two wildcards we could pick.

“They could be selected, but I think the long-term goal is to have a policy where, ideally, we pick players who are playing in Wales.”

Roberts, 28, joined Paris-based Racing from Cardiff Blues in 2013, a year before Gatland pledged to favour Wales-based players, and is thought to have rejected a return to his former club this summer.