Concerns Over English Players in France

Alan DobsonContributor ISeptember 24, 2009

TOULON, FRANCE - AUGUST 14: Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon kicks a conversion during the Top 14 match between Toulon and Stade Francais Stade Mayol on August 14, 2009 in Toulon, France. (Photo by Stuart Morton/Getty Images)

Rob Andrew, England's director of rugby, has voiced concerns over England players plying their trade in France stating "we don't have the same level of control." These comments come after Riki Flutey aggravated a long standing shoulder injury whilst making his debut for Brive.

He isn't the first person involved with the England setup to express concerns with the current situation as it has also been pointed out that contracts with French sides may not enable some players to be released for England duty as easy as Guinness Premiership contracts.

Many England players making the switch this summer have come back with comments that they have had releases put into their contacts and this should not be a problem but how large the problem may become is still yet to be seen.

A similar situation, to that of Riki Flutey, arose last season with Paul Sackey and the England medical team being able to request that Sackey did not play for Wasps in order to ensure he was fit enough to play for England. In Flutey's case the medical team did not want Flutey to play but had no say in whether he did or not. 

Looking through at players making the switch it is not all doom and gloom. There are many players who move to France who have had their careers revitalised by a new way of playing most notably Jonny Wilkinson.

Wilkinsons return to the England elite squad is down to his move to Toulon. A new more relaxed way of life, coupled with different ways of playing the game have seen Jonny not only return to fitness but return to form, highlighted when he kicked all the points, and controlled the midfield in an 18-13 victory over Toulouse.