Steve Hansen, the New Zealand coach, believes rugby in England could be suffering from the same sickness that English football caught from the Premier League.
Hansen pointed to the number of foreign players increasing year on year not only in the English Premiership but also in France’s Top 14 and the Pro12 in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy.
“You only have to look at the soccer model that rugby up here follows,” Hansen told www.rugbyworldcup.com. “England haven’t won anything for years, yet they have the best Premier League in the world. Most of the best players are playing in that league but it doesn’t reflect on the international team.”
He said that northern hemisphere rugby could be heading into a fallow period unless new policies were adopted. Hansen spent two years in charge of Wales from 2002 and experienced the difficulties that exist between the regions and the Welsh Rugby Union. There is a similar situation in England and in France.
After New Zealand’s quarter-final victory against France, and with England and Wales already out, Hansen was asked about continuing problems between the Top 14 clubs and the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR). “It’s difficult if you’re not on the same page and I’m not sure whether in France the two organisations are on the same page,” Hansen said.
“You need to have the same goals and the same vision. There are a lot of foreign players in the Top 14 and that means there are a lot of French players who are not getting the chance to grow and develop.
“It’s not my country and I shouldn’t say too much but, if you want to be successful at international level, you have to be united from the top down.”
Of New Zealand, the coach said: “I think we have got our model right. We are all on the same page and we want to support international rugby and all head in the same direction. I am not sure up here if that’s the case.”
Source: Irish Times