Wales Player Exodus
Wales 'need to come to terms' with player exodus
ESPN Staff
December 5, 2013
Kingsley Jones - 'We haven't got the finances to compete with France and the sooner we come to terms with it the better really' © Getty Images

Former Wales international Kingsley Jones has told the South Wales Echo the exodus of star players to France will continue for a long time to come.

"I read people saying French rugby is not sustainable, well believe me it is," he said. "The sponsorship comes from everywhere, the municipal, the council, the owners, there's the crowds.

A dose of reality needed

  • Amid all the soul-searching and anger over the continuing stream of players leaving Wales to seek better rewards elsewhere the reality of the real world is being forgotten, as Kingsley Jones points out.

    Players have short shelf lives in rugby and a serious career-ending injury is a constant threat. They have every right to make the most of the time they have in the game. While that ought not to impact on their national pride, it means they play week-in, week-out where the pay is best. French rugby is booming and the money on offer is hugely appealing.

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"I went to watch Toulon v La Rochelle a few years ago on a Tuesday night and you couldn't get in the place. Everybody's got a Toulon jersey on. That's the way it is and that's the way it's going to remain unless they change the overseas rule for the Top 14.

"We haven't got the finances to compete with France and the sooner we come to terms with it the better really. It's unfortunate, but it's a part of life and I think it will go on for a long time.

"We've been spending time talking about these players going for two or three years now. It's a revolving question. It's all we talk about. We go round in circles about it. It will be another player in the next month."

He said that unlike the era when wales lost many leading players to rugby league, the positive thing about the current situation is that those who have left are still free to play internationals.

"They can play for Wales and they will be better players. Ian Evans, in particular, will be a better player and a better person for that experience with Toulon. Internationally we want them in camp and yes we want to see them playing for our regions. The supporters in Wales want to see these players playing. But ultimately there's not a lot we can do about it, we just talk about it a lot.

"We can talk about central contracts, but we aren't going to be able to pay 20 players half a million quid to be on central contracts and these are the figures we are talking about."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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