Marler wants a change to the overseas rule

Overseas England rule will stay in place, says Rugby Football Uunion chief executive Bill Sweeney.

Currently if players want to compete for England they need to play their domestic rugby in the country. However, several players have chosen to put their international careers on hold in order to play their club rugby elsewhere. Those players’ moves have led to discussions over whether the rule should be adapted but Sweeney insisted it will remain as it is.

Read more: Overseas rule should change – Lawes

“If you look at the number of players going abroad, it doesn’t really impact our core group,” Sweeney said. “Where we currently stand on the policy of only selecting players based in England stays as it is.”

Lewis Ludlam and Kyle Sinckler are among the most recent players to sign for a French club. They will join the likes of David Ribbans, Jack Willis and Jack Nowell in playing their club rugby abroad. But Sweeney says there are only “one or two” of the players not competing in England who the governing body would like back playing for England.

“If you actually look at the players we’ve got abroad, they probably made a decision in terms of ‘where’s my England career currently?'” he added.

“‘Am I in contention for a place in those hybrid contracts? Am I in that core group of England players going forward?..

“There are maybe one or two that you think we would rather have over here. Joe Marchant is rumoured to be coming back to the Premiership this year, so from our perspective, we are okay with it. We think there is a performance advantage to having those players based in your own country.”

England and Harlequins prop Joe Marler weighed in on the debate and disagreed with Sweeney.

“Lift the bloody oversees ban!” Marler wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter. “Get a “minimum cap rule” in place and let the boys play!”

Marler is not the only player to voice opposition. Retired England star Courtney Lawes, who is himself off to Brive next season, said the rule should be adapted.

“I think they could change the rules. Whether they will or not is another question,” Lawes said. “I think they probably should, because players go to France and become better players, and then you’re losing that talent from the English game.”

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