Welsh Rugby
Charvis defends wantaway stars
Tom Hamilton
February 16, 2012
Colin Charvis of the Dragons pictured during the EDF Energy Cup match between Newport Gwent Dragons and Newcastle Falcons at Rodney Parade on October 3, 2008 in Newport, Wales.
Colin Charvis finished an illustrious career with 94 caps to his name © Getty Images
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Former Wales forward Colin Charvis insists that players should not be criticised for chasing lucrative contracts overseas.

The Welsh regions are in the midst of their annual struggle to keep the best players at home with the lure of the Euro already proving to be a decisive factor. Dragons duo Aled Brew and Luke Charteris will play in the Top 14 next term and Charvis - who played in England during his 17-year career, insists that such players should not be hung out to dry because it may benefit the game in Wales in the long term.

"The worry of people going for the Euro rather than the pound has been around for over a decade," Charteris told ESPNscrum. "It's no new revelation and it's a problem for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. What they have to do is remain within their budgets and what they can afford as regions and retain their best players here in Wales.

"But people like Stephen Jones went away to Clermont and came back a better player as did Gareth Thomas so in that respect - a jaunt overseas can work. It's not necessary doom and gloom.

"These players have to consider their own livelihood. If they have an opportunity to make some money then they should not be criticised - they are retired for a very long time so you can't deny them a chance to provide for their families."

Wales coach Warren Gatland has previously suggested that he will only pick players who can guarantee their availability for an entire Six Nations campaign - meaning that some overseas stars will miss out if their clubs refuse to release them for international duty. Charvis claims that the Welsh Rugby Union needs to be wary of making the guidelines too strict, or too lax.

"It is down to the WRU and the coach concerning policies on players and if you're too strict then you may have an injury crisis and be desperate and if you're too lax then you may have a mass exodus of players," Charvis said. "The main thing to do is to encourage the regions to work with the union to keep the players in Wales but we cannot deny them the opportunities."

But amid contract negotiations, Wales are currently in a rich vein of form with two wins from two in the 2012 Six Nations and face a trip to Twickenham to face old foes next week. The back-row - an area Charvis knows well - has impressed despite an injury to skipper Sam Warburton and Charvis sees the current group of players staying a unit for years to come.

"I think the balance is right in the back-row at the moment. Ryan Jones played back-row against Ireland and had a fantastic game, Justin Tipuric came on for Waburton and had a great game," Charteris said. "So now not only do you have a strong back-row that has a good balance - with Toby Faletau and Dan Lydaite also in the mix - they have strength in depth with a variety of players that can slot in.

"There's a strong unit and they are all young guys who are gelling at the right time and they should be around for a while."

Colin Charvis was speaking at the launch of the BG Energy Challenge 2012 - UK, the leading annual charity fundraising event for the energy industry raising money for Sparks and CARE International. To take part visit: www.bg-energychallenge.com/UK or follow @BG_Challenge_UK

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.

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