Jamie Roberts: Welsh Rugby Union deal is a step forward

Jamie Roberts carries the ball against Toulon
Jamie Roberts said he would like to play for Cardiff Blues again in the future

Wales centre Jamie Roberts has hailed the country's new £60m agreement - despite the fact it could hinder his international prospects.

The deal ended two years of instability and favours home-based players.

Overseas-based stars such as the Racing Metro back can only represent Wales if coach Warren Gatland makes an exception.

But the 27-year-old Lion said: "People want to go down the terraces and talk about rugby rather than politics."

The package agreed between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions in August is aimed at keeping star players in Wales.

Key points of the new deal
WRU increases regions' funding from £6.7m to £8.7m
Leading home-based Test players to be offered dual contracts
Wales coach Warren Gatland to decide who is offered dual deals, with those players to become WRU employees
Home-based players to be favoured in Wales selection
The £8.7m includes £2m set aside for dual contracts, with regions adding another £1.3m a year
Wales A games to return from January 2015

In recent years there has been an exodus of Wales players moving to clubs in England and France, including Roberts' team-mate in Paris Dan Lydiate,Leigh Halfpenny moving to Toulon and Northampton signing George North.

Wales' management has compiled a list of more than 50 players who are being considered for dual contracts and WRU chief executive Roger Lewis said this includes players they want to bring home from overseas.

The 60-times capped Roberts said: "The main thing is that people can concentrate on rugby now.

"These central contracts, I think it's great for the Welsh guys who are playing their club rugby in Wales.

"They know if they sign these dual contracts they'll be looked after in regards to how many games they'll play for their regions, they'll certainly be fresh for international rugby."

The Top 14 season in France is well underway and Racing Metro sit 10th after two wins and two draws.

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