English Rugby
Stade to steer clear of England players
ESPNscrum Staff
March 1, 2011
Stade Francais' James Haskell on the charge, La Rochelle v Stade Francais, Top 14, Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France, January 2, 2011
James Haskell's future with Stade Francais is in doubt © Getty Images

Stade Francais owner Max Guazzini has confirmed that the club will steer clear of signing England internationals in future after James Haskell and Tom Palmer were not released for Top 14 duty this weekend.

The duo have been retained for England's training camp in Oxford this week, along with Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, meaning they will miss Stade's high-profile clash with Perpignan on Saturday. Both players have started all of their country's Six Nations ties to date.

Guazzini has had run-ins with the England management before over the release of Haskell for break weekends in the Six Nations, going as far as to label him a 'hostage' during last year's Championship, and has now cast doubt over the pair's future with Paris club.

"What is funny is that Tom Palmer did not interest the England selectors before he joined Stade Fran├žais [from Wasps]," Guazzini told The Guardian. "Now, as he showed on Saturday, he is a very good international player. Haskell would like to have played for us against Perpignan, but he has also been kept by England.

"In the future we will not be signing any players who are either in the England squad or are close to it. The English clubs get paid when their players are away with England, but we get nothing. We have a big match on Saturday and will be without two of our leading players and this, for certain, will have an influence when the contracts for the two come up for renewal."

Meanwhile, the respective calf and Achilles injuries sustained by Andrew Sheridan and Toby Flood will be assessed on Tuesday while Gloucester prop Paul Doran-Jones has been included in the 20-man squad with David Wilson nursing an ankle problem. Leeds duo Hendre Fourie and Steve Thompson and Matt Banahan of Bath have been released back to their clubs.

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