Osprey Josh Matavesi 'can see' why Welsh stars might quit France

Josh Matavesi in action for Ospreys against Blues
Matavesi played a season at Racing Metro.

Ospreys back Josh Matavesi says he can "see why" Wales internationals Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate and Mike Phillips might want to return to Wales.

Reports in France say the players could leave Racing Metro who have spoken to the trio about the possibility.

Matavesi, who spent a season at Racing, says the ruthless nature of French clubs can be difficult to handle.

"You do feel a bit used, but that's French rugby for you," said the 24-year-old centre.

"If you're not training well or a little bit injured they're not going to hold back and wait for you to be fit they're going to pick the next guy.

"You know I've heard a few rumours that they're looking to come back and I can see why, because it is difficult."

Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate and Mike Phillips
Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate and Mike Phillips

Wales coach Warren Gatland says the Welsh Rugby Union has not "instigated contact" aimed at bringing the three players back from France.

"But we are aware that one or two of them are keen to return to Wales sooner rather than later," the New Zealander said.

Racing coach Laurent Labit told French newspaper L'Equipe: "We have raised the subject [leaving] with them. They have never really been that effective since their arrival."

The Paris club declined to make further comment when contacted by BBC Sport Wales.

The agents of Lydiate, Roberts and Phillips have been asked to comment, as have the WRU and Regional Rugby Wales, which represents Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues.

Gatland's comments came separately in a WRU online question-and-answer session.

And scrum-half Phillips has dismissed the links in a tweet, saying he was happy at Racing.

Matavesi joined Ospreys during the summer from Worcester, and has been an impressive presence in the Swansea-based regions' 100% start to the Pro 12 season.

He played 11 games for Racing before his move to the Warriors and admits he found the experience tough, but rewarding.

"The thing in France, at Racing anyway, you don't nail down a spot," he added.

"You can have the game of your life one week and someone just as good as you can play the next week - it's tough, especially if you don't know any French.

Mike Phillips on Twitter:
"Not sure why my name was mentioned today, I'm very happy at @RacingMetro92, and the coaches are very happy with me also"

"You're having to catch up on things because all the plays will be in French, all the meetings so I know what they're going through.

"I know how hard it is because people like Dan Lydiate hasn't played much has he - that's the way it goes but then next week he might be in, the week after he might be out.

"It is a tough sport over there especially when you can buy the players they can get with the big cheque book they've got.

"They can have Jamie Roberts, they can have Francois Steyn and Juan Martine Hernandez all in the same position.

"And if you're not training well or a little bit injured they're not going to hold back and wait for you to be fit they're going to pick the next guy.

"That's what you like about French rugby they're a bit crazy and that's why you love it.

"I had some Heineken Cup games, had some Top 14 and my experience is done now and I came here as a better person and a better player."

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