With the news that Jonny Sexton is looking like he is on his way to Racing Metro from Leinster almost turning his back on the IRFU, it raises the question- Is the lure of money overtaking the pride of representing the National team. And to what extent is money making an effect on the rugby world?
Within the last few months we've seen a wealth of Welsh talent perform a mass exodus to shores of France to receive a bounty of money in comparison to their earnings back in their motherland. The French teams such as Toulon and Racing Metro have certainly been shelling out the Euros, drafting in an enormity of players from around the world. The effect this has had on the likes of smaller nations such as the Wales has seen them looking to drop from four to three regions, the financial capability just is not there. An issue for me is with all this talent in these squads game time will be restricted, bench time will become all to usual, demonstrating the sport to be drifting towards a big money game.
Many nations apply the ruling 'to play for the country you must play in the country!' Even this has now not become a big enough deterrent as the pennies are a bigger draw as opposed to pulling on the national shirt and displaying you pride for all the world to see.
The French seem to be slowly pillaging the talent from other nations seemingly to build Rugby's version of the English football premier league, but to what detriment to other nations and teams? Could this French cash splash be causing a shift in direction in the purity of the sport?
The IRFU's decision is a tough one, if they allow Sexton to continue to play for Ireland then it will allow other to do likewise plunging Irish rugby into a dire situation. A large issue regarding player flocking to foreign shores is sadly money. Salary caps are quite a contentious issue, the vast varying amounts in each leagues salary cap is almost astounding! The Welsh rugby has a cap of £3.5m, the Aviva premiership amasses to £4.5 yet the French Top 14 has a loosely based €9.5m cap. With such a vast difference the enticement to travel abroad to earn some extra money for security when their career comes to pass is understandable.
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