In this month’s Rugby World Big Debate, we asked Jérôme Riondet, a TV commentator and former France A centre, and London Irish backs coach Richard Whiffin whether the influx of foreign players is bad for the European game.

It’s an emotive and complex subject, so we asked the protagonists to discuss how the issue affects their particular country.

Riondet says the number of star names playing in France’s Top 14 – which will contain three more All Black fly-halves next season alone next season in Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor – is denying opportunities for young Frenchmen. The knock-on effect is a more limited pool of players from which to pick the national team.

Whiffin begs to differ, arguing that far from hindering the national selectors, the presence of experienced overseas players in a domestic league will hone native talent because of the ideas and knowledge such imports bring to the table. English rugby is thriving because of it, he says.

The full debate is out in this month’s Rugby World, on sale now. Read the full feature and then tell us what you think by voting in our poll below, by tweeting us @Rugbyworldmag or by posting on our Facebook page Rugby World Magazine.

 

  • robinp

    In my view this is not a simple yes/no question. The exposure to experience and skill-sets from experienced players absolutely brings on youth. Having a pool of foreign talent can bring a different set of experience and skills to the local pool, which is of obvious benefit. The challenge is that if the foreign talent becomes the majority or core group of the squad, the local talent become the outsiders. That balance, where the foreign talent brings on local talent without taking over the group, is a fine one. It looks like France got that wrong. It looks like England got it right – hopefully.