Players have moved abroad in the club game meaning they cannot play for their country

Rugby talent moving abroad for club rugby has sparked a debate surrounding Test rugby. A move away from their domestic leagues has taken the option of playing for their country off of the table for some so is international rugby the pinnacle anymore?

There have been several players opting to move abroad with England players in particular. David Ribbans has signed for Toulon, Joe Marchant now plays for Stade Francais, Jack Willis extended his stay at Toulouse and young star Henry Arundell has joined Racing 92.

Other unions have seen something similar too, for example with Wales’ Joe Hawkins joining Exeter Chiefs.

As things stand in order to play for England players must compete in the Gallagher Premiership. For Wales, players must have at least 25 caps in order to play for the national team and a club outside of Wales.

Former England captain Will Carling believes playing Test rugby no longer has the appeal it once did.

“The lure of playing England for me was incredible, so you’ve got to ask some very serious questions and I think people in the right positions need to ask ‘why are people walking away from playing for their country?’,” Carling told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“There’s a guy (Owen Farrell, who is taking time away from international rugby) who has given incredible service to England – and to Saracens – and if that’s his choice then you respect it hugely.

“It’s the youngsters that worry me. Owen’s had a great, great career so if that’s how he wants to end it then I think we all respect that.

“It’s some of the others who are going – who have careers ahead of them – that worry me.”

Fans have had their say too on social media.

One wrote: “French club rugby could really undermine the England squad this way. Rule really needs to be scrapped.”

And another said: “Playing in France does not mean walking away from playing for England. It is the stupid rules of the RFU banning players playing abroad from playing for England which causes this.”

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