French Top 14
Lund praises cross-channel swaps
February 20, 2009
Biarritz flanker Magnus Lund (R) fights with Toulouse flanker Thierry Dusautoir (L) during the French Top 14 rugby union match StadeToulousain vs Biarritz in Toulouse's stadium on September 7, 2008.
Magnus Lund (R) has praised his experience in France with Biarritz © Getty Images

Biarritz flanker Magnus Lund, who has ten caps for England, has spoken out after criticism was levelled at Wasps players Riki Flutey, James Haskell and Tom Palmer after they agreed deals with French sides Brive and Stade Francais respectively.

The lack of a salary cap in France has allowed the players to take advantage of the favourable exchange rate between the euro and the pound. Lund believes that there is far more than money on offer in France, citing a different style of rugby and experience as two key factors.

"I don't think it's that surprising. We've seen how much the French clubs are offering and of course that's going to be a factor - you have to think about the longevity of your career," the 25-year-old said. "A lot has been said of the money involved but a team like Stade Francais is a huge club in Europe. Why shouldn't Haskell try his luck there?

"He has achieved a lot at Wasps, he might want to do the same in France. It's not all about money. I think that French rugby offers you a different experience, if you really want to take advantage of it."

Lund maintains that he has improved greatly since making the cross-channel switch from Sale last season, and predicts that we will see a steady trickle of Premiership players testing themselves in the Top 14.

"It has definitely helped me. It helps you evolve as a player and allows you to develop your style," he said. "You have to adapt and that can only be good. It obviously depends on the person but it has definitely been a positive for me.

"I think there are only going to be more (coming to France). But it's got to be in the right circumstances. It's a big step moving abroad, with the language barrier and everything. It's definitely not all about the money. I guess a lot will have spoken to Andy Goode (who plays for Brive) in the England camp."

Lund won the last of his England caps against South Africa in June 2007, and wonders how much new exposure the Top 14 will now receive as a result of these high-profile moves. With Goode securing an England return thanks to his form in France, Lund may be able to rekindle his international aspirations.

"I honestly don't know," said Lund, about the chances of a call-up by Martin Johnson for the first time. "That's not the reason I came over but if things keep going well, there's always a chance. It'll be interesting to see how much more exposure we get here if more England players come over."


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