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Steele sets out England selection intentions

02 December 2010

  • RFU CEO sets out intentions designed around RWC 2015 success
  • Steele - It is our absolute intention that we only select from overseas clubs in exceptional circumstances
James Haskell (L) and Jonny Wilkinson

Photo: Getty Images

The Rugby Football Union Chief Executive John Steele has reiterated England Rugby’s desire to have their top players plying their trade at English clubs. With the RFU becoming the host union of Rugby World Cup ahead of 2015, Steele wants England to be in the best position to succeed in front of home crowds and to achieve that, he believes players at all levels of the Elite structure can be best supported at English clubs.

He has set out the RFU’s intention in a letter to England players and their agents which makes clear that from the end of Rugby World Cup 2011 “it is our view that we are best served by having our England Elite Player Squad (EPS) and our England Qualified Players (EQPs) all playing in England at English clubs.

“We feel that enables our whole Elite department, including team management and coaches, as well as our technical, medical and sports science teams, to work more closely with EPS players to ensure that you are supported in the right way. We further believe this is easier to achieve working with the Premiership and Championship clubs with whom we have excellent relationships at all levels.”

Steele continued: “I would stress that this is not a change to our selection policy itself, players remain entirely free to play outside England should they so wish, but you need to understand that it is our absolute intention that we only select from overseas clubs in exceptional circumstances. It is for you and your agent to decide if you are willing to take that risk.”