Wales 'need to come to terms' with player exodus
December 5, 2013
Kingsley Jones - 'We haven't got the finances to compete with France and the sooner we come to terms with it the better really' © Getty Images
Former Wales international Kingsley Jones has told the South Wales Echo the exodus of star players to France will continue for a long time to come.
"I read people saying French rugby is not sustainable, well believe me it is," he said. "The sponsorship comes from everywhere, the municipal, the council, the owners, there's the crowds.
A dose of reality needed
"I went to watch Toulon v La Rochelle a few years ago on a Tuesday night and you couldn't get in the place. Everybody's got a Toulon jersey on. That's the way it is and that's the way it's going to remain unless they change the overseas rule for the Top 14.
"We haven't got the finances to compete with France and the sooner we come to terms with it the better really. It's unfortunate, but it's a part of life and I think it will go on for a long time.
"We've been spending time talking about these players going for two or three years now. It's a revolving question. It's all we talk about. We go round in circles about it. It will be another player in the next month."
He said that unlike the era when wales lost many leading players to rugby league, the positive thing about the current situation is that those who have left are still free to play internationals.
"They can play for Wales and they will be better players. Ian Evans, in particular, will be a better player and a better person for that experience with Toulon. Internationally we want them in camp and yes we want to see them playing for our regions. The supporters in Wales want to see these players playing. But ultimately there's not a lot we can do about it, we just talk about it a lot.
"We can talk about central contracts, but we aren't going to be able to pay 20 players half a million quid to be on central contracts and these are the figures we are talking about."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports
Wales did the All Blacks a favour with their best effort against New Zealand for many years, for 68 minutes at Millennium Stadium, Craig Dowd writes