Charteris leaving Racing to increase Wales call ups

Luke Charteris wants to return home so he can play more for Wales

Wales second rower Luke Charteris has announced that he will leave French Top14 Rugby club Racing 92 at the end of the season and return to the United Kingdom.

Charteris says that when he comes off contract he will return from the continent in order to better pursue his international career.

“I love Paris and Racing 92, but I have to leave next year because if I want to play for the national team, I must be playing in Wales or England,” said the 32-year-old, capped 62 times by Wales.

Charteris arrived at Racing in the summer of 2014 after two years at Perpignan, having previously played nine seasons at Newport-Gwent Dragons.

Welsh players do not need to necessarily play in Wales to be eligible for the nation team, but coach Warren Gatland has encouraged expatriated Welsh players to return home on dual contracts partly funded by the Welsh Rugby Union.

Flanker Dan Lydiate returned from a sojourn at Racing on such a contract with Ospreys, while centre Jonathan Davies was the latest to cross the channel, re-signing for Scarlets from Clermont.

Other targets for a dual contract are winger George North, out of contract at Northampton at the end of the season, as well as other England-based players including Jamie Roberts, Bradley Davies, James Hook and Matthew Morgan. Fly-half Rhys Priestland has taken a sabbatical from international rugby to sign for Bath.

Still plying their trade in France are full-back Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) and scrum-half Mike Phillips (Racing).

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