Warren Gatland Issues Warning To English Rugby

Be careful.

Wales and Lions head coach Warren Gatland has warned England that its rugby could be set to go the same way as English football with its international game suffering because of its use of overseas players at club level.

Today it was revealed that All Black Lima Sopoaga is set to become the latest high-profile star to join the Aviva Premiership, as he gets set to sign for Wasps.

The massive influx of foreign talent could end up having a massive effect on England’s international team, according to Gatland.

“You can understand people doing the best for their clubs and competitions, but you have to look at the bigger picture. What drives rugby globally is the international game. They’re the things we need to consider and protect.” Gatland told The Rugby Paper.

“My big fear is you want competitions to grow and develop, but I’d hate to see the English game get like the football where there is so much money and resources going into it that it dominates the game globally and all the best players congregate in the competition to the detriment of everything else.

“They want to make their competitions as strong as possible, but it’s also important to get the balance right. Make it strong, but not to the detriment of other areas of the game.”

Gatland reminded rugby’s Premiership club bosses that it was the international calendar which drove World Rugby’s agenda.

“We want to grow the game,” Gatland added.

“I understand things from the point of view of the owners, Premiership Rugby Limited and the RFU.

“They want to make their competitions as strong as possible, but it’s also important to get the balance right. Make it strong, but not to the detriment of other areas of the game.

“That’s why I’m saying the power brokers and people involved in the game have to have everything represented.”