AND great Lawrence Dallaglio has emphatically backed moves to ensure the national team is comprised solely of players based at domestic clubs.
The Rugby Football Union has warned that anyone playing for a foreign team after next year’s World Cup is almost certain to be overlooked for England duty.
The measure is designed to give England manager Martin Johnson, or his successor, the strongest possible pool of players in the lead-up to hosting the tournament in 2015.
And Dallaglio told City A.M.: “I’m not surprised. There are so many reasons why the decision is a good one.
“The success of the England team depends on a strong domestic competition. That is something there is a huge appetite for among fans, so it’s important that the top players are playing in England, with a sprinkling of others from around the world – not the other way round.
“Quite frankly, if you’re serious about playing for England you should be playing with and against the other players you are competing with for that jersey. You’re also under the eye of the England coaches, support structure and medical team.
“In my mind, country should always come first. International rugby is hard enough without all those extra complications.”