Top 14
Lydiate and Roberts in Wales promise
ESPN Staff
August 16, 2013
Wales and Lions flanker Dan Lydiate made a high-profile switch to French side Racing Metro this summer © PA Photos

Wales flanker Dan Lydiate and centre Jamie Roberts have assured fans they remain committed to the national side and are adamant they will be available for every training camp and match during their spell with French side Racing Metro.

The duo, who helped propel Wales to this year's Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions to an historic series victory over Australia earlier this year, made the high-profile switch to the Top 14 giants this summer but did so safe in the knowledge that they would be able to challenge for further international honours.

"I had to make sure I was still available for Wales and I did do that," Lydiate told the BBC ahead of his side's season-opener against Brive on Saturday.

Roberts, whose Top 14 debut will be delayed due to injury, said: "The important thing is if you want to carry on playing international rugby you get full international release in your contract. And I know myself and Dan have ensured that with Racing Metro."

"I had to make sure I was still available for Wales and I did do that."

Both will be hoping to feature in Wales' end of year campaign that will see them tackle South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia along with Wales' other French-based players including Mike Phillips (Bayonne), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), James Hook (Perpignan) and Lee Byrne (Clermont Auvergne).

The issue of player release has become increasingly pressing for Wales coach Warren Gatland with Welsh rugby battling to keep its leading players in the country. Winger George North is another to have recently opted for a fresh challenge - with Premiership side Northampton Saints - and the likes of fullback Leigh Halfpenny and flanker Sam Warburton have also been linked with moves abroad.

"I spoke to Warren before coming out here," said Lydiate. "I had to make sure I was still available for Wales and I did do that. Hopefully, it will work well, but I am looking forward to playing with a new set of players and with new coaches.

"They [the Welsh Rugby Union] will work closely with the club, but obviously you are at a slight disadvantage because the coaches are not able to watch you every week. I just hope if I am playing well enough that they will still pick me. There is a massive onus on myself to make sure I am playing well out here, and if Racing are successful there is a big chance I will still be selected for Wales."

Centre Jamie Roberts is another hoping to add to his Test caps tally later this year © Getty Images
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