Lancaster backs RFU's overseas policy
ESPN Staff
May 26, 2014
Steffon Armitage has had a remarkable season for Toulon © Getty Images

England coach Stuart Lancaster backed the Rugby Football Union's policy concerning overseas players but admitted the door is not closed onSteffon Armitage playing for England in the future.

Armitage picked up the Man of the Match award for his showing in the Heineken Cup final leading to calls from Sir Clive Woodward for the RFU to relax its policy of only picking those playing abroad in 'exceptional circumstances'. But Lancaster, speaking at the unveiling of the 30-man squad for the first Test against the All Blacks, said he was a supporter of the RFU's policy but admitted Armitage could come back into the reckoning next year if the situation warranted 'exceptional circumstances'.

"I agree with the rule, I agree with the policy," Lancaster said. "I think it's important from an English club point-of-view and the national team to get access to the players when we need them. We want our best players to be playing in England.

"I look at the situation in New Zealand which is a similar system, actually it's even more rigid, where there is no flexibility and it's not done them any harm over the last few years. I think it's a good rule and one I support as national coach.

"That said there is exceptional circumstances and who's to say this time next year he's still playing as well, the door might be open."

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