In recent years, the exodus of players from the southern hemisphere rugby strongholds has caused problems for the traditional superpowers of the game. New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have all put varying measures in place to encourage their players to stay at home, rather than be tempted by the riches of the Top 14 and Premiership.
However, things are not all rosy in the English top flight either, just because of the high quality of foreign imports, according to Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
Speaking to The Rugby Paper, the 2013 and 2017 Lions supremo speculated that the negative impact on the national team that comes with the high percentage of foreign players in football’s Premier League could be mirrored in rugby.
Gatland acknowledged that clubs are looking after their own interests by bringing in the best talent available, but this may be to the detriment of the overall state of the game in the country.
“You can understand people doing the best for their clubs and competitions, but you have to look at the bigger picture. What drives rugby globally is the international game. They’re the things we need to consider and protect.
“My big fear is you want competitions to grow and develop, but I’d hate to see the English game get like the football where there is so much money and resources going into it that it dominates the game globally and all the best players congregate in the competition to the detriment of everything else.
“They want to make their competitions as strong as possible, but it’s also important to get the balance right. Make it strong, but not to the detriment of other areas of the game.”
Hat-tip: Planet Rugby.