Jamie Roberts 'available whenever' for Wales - Quins boss O'Shea

Jamie Roberts
Jamie Roberts has won 69 caps for Wales

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea says Jamie Roberts will be available for Wales "whenever he needs to be" after the centre's move from French side Racing Metro was confirmed.

The British and Irish Lion, 28, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal and is expected to link up with Quins in December, after the World Cup.

O'Shea insists there will be no issues around future international release.

"Whenever he needs to be available for Wales he will be," said O'Shea.

England-based players Richard Hibbard, Paul James and Bradley Davies were unable to play for Wales against South Africa in the November Tests as the game fell outside World Rugby's official international window, but O'Shea says there will be no such problems with Roberts.

Jamie Roberts
Roberts poses with a Harlequins shirt after sealing his move to the Stoop on Monday

George North negotiated full release for Wales duties when he joined Northampton in April 2013, although Saints were fined £60,000 for letting the Lions wing play for Wales against Australia the following November.

Aviva Premiership clubs have agreed that only players representing England can be released for matches outside of the Test window, so Quins could run the risk of falling foul of this agreement over Roberts in future.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said earlier this month that a move to England would not preclude Roberts from selection for Wales.

Under the so-called 'Gatland's Law', Wales-based players are likely to be favoured for Test selection over those who choose to play elsewhere.

But two-time Lions tourist Roberts, who has won the Six Nations three times with his country, is "committed to Wales beyond belief," according to O'Shea.

"I know his commitment," he said, adding: "He wants to go to another World Cup, he wants to go on Lions tours and he also wants to win trophies.

"Jamie's going to play, train, you name it. That's what he wants to do and he wants to play for Wales.

"I think we're all very happy with that and so is Gatland."

Commenting on his move to the Stoop, Roberts said: "My desire to compete and win at both club and international level remains as strong as ever."

The Newport-born player had turned down a deal to return to Cardiff Blues, where he spent six years before moving to France.

Had Roberts opted to return to Wales, Blues would have had first refusal on Roberts' services under a Welsh Rugby Union agreement with the nation's four regions.

Roberts, who made his international debut in 2008, will also study part-time for a Masters degree in medical science at Cambridge University during his time with Quins.

Top Stories