Mike Phillips and Jamie Roberts deny Racing Metro exit talk

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips joined Racing Metro from Bayonne in December 2013
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips joined Racing Metro from Bayonne in December 2013

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips and centre Jamie Roberts have dismissed reports suggesting they could be leaving Racing Metro to return to Wales.

The British and Irish Lions pair have been linked with a move from France along with team-mate Dan Lydiate.

But Phillips tweeted on the speculation: "Not sure why my name was mentioned today.

"I'm very happy at Racing Metro and the coaches are very happy with me also."

Roberts tweeted: "Funny few days. Contrary to fictitious 'press' belief, I'm not going home this week. Merci."

The speculation arose when 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, while the agents of the three players and Regional Rugby Wales have also been asked to comment.

A further report in L'Equipe on Wednesday speculated that former Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Lydiate could leave by November, while also linking Toulon's English flanker Steffon Armitage with a move to Bath.

Key points of the Welsh rugby deal signed in August, 2014
WRU increases regions' funding from £6.7m to £8.7m
Top home-based Test stars 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

Wales coach Warren Gatland has said the Welsh Rugby Union has not "instigated contact" aimed at bringing Phillips, centre Roberts and back-row Lydiate back from France, but did say that "one or two of them are keen to return to Wales".

Roberts and Lydiate joined Racing ahead of the 2013-14 season while Phillips moved there in December 2013 after being dismissed for disciplinary reasons by former club Bayonne.

If they had wanted to play for potential new teams at the start of this season's European competitions on Friday, the trio would have had to have moved before 12:00 BST on Tuesday, 14 October.

And if they play in the European Rugby Cup at all for Racing Metro - who host Northampton on Saturday in their European opener - the players will not be able to represent another team in the tournament this season.

Should any of the trio return to play for a Welsh region it could be on a dual-contract allowed for under the new Rugby Services Agreement signed by the regions and the WRU in August.

Wales captain Sam Warburton is the only player on such a deal at the moment but several more Wales stars are expected to be placed on a similar deal in the near future.

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