Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland open to future French move

Rhys Priestland has won 13 caps dince his debut in 2011
Rhys Priestland has won 13 caps dince his debut in 2011

Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland says he has not ruled out the possibility of playing in France when his current Scarlets contract runs out.

Priestland, capped 13 times by Wales, is tied to Parc y Scarlets until the end of the 2013-14 season.

The Scarlets have this week tied down centre Jonathan Davies to a two-year contract despite interest from England.

"It [playing in France] is something that maybe I'd like to do in the future," revealed Priestland.

"But your personal circumstances and situation change from season to season.

"I've got another two years left with the Scarlets and I'll just keep enjoying them and see what happens."

He added: "I came out of contract last when I was 23 and it was too young for me [to move] then."

Priestland would not be the first Scarlets number 10 to experience a spell in France. Stephen Jones spent two seasons at Clermont Auvergne before returning to the Scarlets in 2006.

Players leaving Wales for France has become an increasing problem since then, not helped by the announcement of a a £3.5m salary cap at all four regions, beginning at the start of the 2012-13 season.

Gethin Jenkins, Luke Charteris, Huw Bennett and Aled Brew join French clubs at the end of this season.

They follow Mike Phillips, James Hook and Lee Byrne who left the Ospreys for Bayonne, Perpignan and Clermont respectively at the end of the 2010-11 campaign.

Welsh Ruby Union group chief executive Roger Lewis says the issue of the player drain is currently at the heart of discussions between the union and the regions.

On Priestland's hint that he may go to France at some stage Lewis said: "That sort of thing is [an] obvious concern to everyone in the game.

"It is something we're addressing with the four regions and that's at the heart of our discussions at present."

Former Wales international Emyr Lewis has expressed the opinion that the regions are becoming nurseries for French and English clubs.

"All basically the regions are doing is breeding youngsters and breeding talent," said Lewis.

"English clubs and French clubs can then purchase them when they come up to a certain standard."