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every now and then I do have the feeling that France national team is woeful (and as an Italian it can be pleasant - just joking, French friends;-)). However they got to the final of the last WC and gave New Zealand a good run for they money in the All Blacks' house. They had a lackluster 6N, but that is more an exception than a rule. In what key-position do you see them being so weak?
I do not buy into the fact that Top14 is so damaging to their NT
Posted 08:58 18th April 2012
I'm happy to pass on the Heineken Cup if it means the England team improves. Just look at the French. They have a great domestic championship, lots of stars from all over the world, sell out crowds etc. Compare that to their national team who are woeful because they have trouble filling key positions due to the number of foreign players in the clubs. I live in the south-west of France and watched Saracens get hammered by big spenders Clermont Ferrand with my french bro'-in-law who naturally rubbed my nose in it. I didn't care, at least I saw an english team play somme running rugby. It will all pay off one day.
Posted 07:55 15th April 2012
Having a higher salary cap wont make AP teams any beter if it gose on higher salaries .Also theres the increased possiblity of clubs becoming bankrupt.Clubs have to realise that they need to live with in their means ,and not just off sugar daddys.So the cap needs to grow slowly imo say by 250k -300k a season so they can give reasonable wage rises and increase squad depth,prefrably from youngsters from their acadamies and with maybe one marque signing .I would rather Clubs spent any extra money on increasing stadia capacity ect and on player development myself .Their is no dought that atm the AP is the most competative league in the world,where any of the 12 teams can qualify for the HC or challange for the championship .Thats not the case in S15 or Top14 or Pro12 .Though i have to admit skill levals in the AP need to be worked on a bit .Once thats sorted well what a product the AP will be
Posted 14:30 14th April 2012
Increased salary cap can go one of two ways. Certain players scream for more money or the squad depth is developed in areas where it is weak.
I know people will say it works for French clubs but some of them have so much financial backing that spending 7.2mil a season is a drop in the ocean.
Also the example given about Edinburgh isn't really applicable - they have been lucky to remain relatively injury free for the last few months. A couple of injuries in key positions would have left them screwed.
The frustrating thing for me is that people begin to move where the money is than playing for the club. Even more frustrating is the emphasis put into developing young players and then increasing the salary cap just to increase the pay of the so-called 'superstars'. In Scotland, rather than giving young talent an opportunity, they ship them off the 7's circuit where quite a few end up lost.
For me, the salary cap shouldn't be increased. Keeping it at this level avoids there becoming a gulf between teams with money and teams without. It also creates a great platform for development in smaller teams. Exeter are a great example of this.
Posted 12:58 12th April 2012
bigger squads are great for hiding poor coaching.
Edinburough just beat Toulouse, didn't we.
Posted 12:08 12th April 2012
How many games do the top Irish players play in a eason compared to their English counterparts I wonder.......
Posted 09:58 12th April 2012
Eh - that's not your problem.The Irish provinces do fine on far less money than either the English or French teams.
Posted 09:11 12th April 2012