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Lancaster holds firm on Top 14 exiles

Stuart Lancaster has reiterated the RFU’s stance over the selection of players based overseas, explaining that they will be less likely to be picked because of their unavailable to attend training camps scheduled outside of the IRB International windows.

 
The issue was once again highlighted, in a wide ranging interview with the BBC, following the outstanding performances of Delon and Steffon Armitage for Toulon in the Heineken Cup last weekend.
 
Lancaster went on to explain that because on England’s agreement with Premiership clubs over the release of players, the unavailability of France based players is further highlighted.
 
“What makes it difficult when a player plays in France is they are not available for our camps when we need them…we have an agreement with the Premiership clubs to have access to the England players.”

“It is not under the IRB release window so we can’t get the lads who are in the French clubs.

“Toulon were in the French final the day we played South Africa in the first Test so it creates problems from that point of view.”

“You would never say never but it is always going to be harder for players playing in France.”
 
It is a difficult issue for the RFU to deal with as the money available to a player in France is so much greater, and with the players knowing that the RFU will still pick them if they are good enough, as with Wilkinson, Haskell and Palmer in the past, there is not much of a genuine disincentive.
 
Lancaster also covered the prospects of a return to international rugby for Danny Cipriani, saying:
 
“His challenge is to start and play well for Sale. If he does that on a consistent basis he’ll be considered like everyone else.”
 
France, meanwhile, have announced their 33 man squad for the Autumn Internationals. 18 year old Toulouse centre, Gael Fickou has been included after some stunning performances in the Top 14 the season and an outstanding display against Leicester in the Heineken Cup last weekend.
 
The rising star will not however be joined by the ever reliable Aurelien Rougerie who has been left out of the squad in order to get some game time following an ankle injury.
 
France Squad for November Tests:
 
Forwards:
 
Eddy Ben Arous (Racing-Métro), Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Yannick Forestier (Castres), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Christopher Tolofua (Stade Toulousain), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing-Métro), David Attoub (Stade Français), Vincent Debaty (Clermont), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Yoann Maestri (Stade Toulousain), Pascal Papé (Stade Français), Jocelino Suta (Toulon), Sébastien Vahaamahina (Perpignan), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Thierry Dusautoir (Stade Toulousain, cap.), Pierrick Gunther (Toulon), Wenceslas Lauret (Biarritz), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Louis Picamoles (Stade Toulousain).
 
Backs:
 
Maxime Machenaud (Racing-Métro), Morgan Parra (Clermont), Frédéric Michalak (Toulon), Jules Plisson (Stade Français), François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Vincent Clerc (Stade Toulousain), Brice Dulin (Castres), Benjamin Fall (Racing-Métro), Gaël Fickou (Stade Toulousain), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Florian Fritz (Stade Toulousain), Yoann Huget (Stade Toulousain), Vincent Martin (Toulon), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon)
 
Injured:

Dimitri Yashvilli, Imanol Harinordoquoy, Alexis Palisson, Maxime Medard.

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