Cueto backs England stance

Date published: May 6 2015

Former England wing Mark Cueto believes the playing overseas rule is "black and white" as the debate rumbles on surrounding Top 14 stars.

The 35-year-old finisher, who is set to retire at the end of the current campaign, has been a stalwart at Sale Sharks since making his club debut back in 2001.

And looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup on home soil, the man capped 55 times by his country has stated that all players know the rules for Test rugby.

"On form, there is no way you can ignore them but rules are rules," he told BBC Sport, with French-based duo Nick Abendanon and Steffon Armitage in mind.

"The EPS agreement has been in place for so long and if you leave the Premiership, you know you won't be considered to play for your country.

"It is black and white. It's their decision to go out there."

England is set to face a daunting pool campaign against rivals Australia and Wales, but Cueto is confident in how their preparations are taking shape.

"England are in a really good place. The first three years under Stuart they progressed really well," said the Premiership's all-time top try-scorer.

"They had a shaky patch but they came relatively good again in the recent Six Nations.

"They have a strong set-piece and a forward pack that can compete with anyone in the world. In the Six Nations, they were also ahead of the others in terms of try-scoring, so that shows the attacking side of things is developing too.

"Taking all of that into account and being at home, I think they are in a good spot."