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Pickering refuses to compete with rich clubs
ESPN Staff
May 17, 2013
David Pickering, Chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union
David Pickering: 'There isn't a correlation between buying in huge quantities of foreign players and international success' © Getty Images
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The Welsh Rugby Union will not bankrupt itself to keep top players in the country according to board chairman David Pickering, nor will it look to bring in foreigners to bolster the domestic game.

Although the WRU has offered to centrally contract the national squad, Pickering made clear that it would not try to compete with the budgets available to leading club sides. "I'm not prepared to enter into a position where we bankrupt the union," he said. "I will not do it, it's wrong."

The player drain continued this week with news that Roberts and Dan Lydiate are set to join Racing Metro after the conclusion of the Lions tour.

"We'd rather all the best players play in Wales but there's a big, bad market out there," he told the BBC. "It's primarily fuelled by the French clubs who have got massive budgets - 26-28 million euros a year - and they're spending a considerable amount of that on players. When a player is offered half a million by a French club as a package it's very tempting for them and you can understand their consideration. A sporting life is a short life."

Pickering said that whatever the financial future held, the WRU would not go down the French route and fill the domestic game with overseas players. "I think something like 65% of the players at the top French clubs are foreigners, and we don't want that. We've put rules in place in Wales to ensure that we limit our foreign players and then you correlate that with national team success.

"France, despite of all the money they're spending on their players, pick up an unenviable position in the Six Nations and we are winning it. And we've done that several times in the past few years. There isn't a correlation between buying in huge quantities of foreign players and international success.

"What we will try to do is keep the talent in Wales because that's what we want to do, but we're not bankrupting ourselves."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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