SO often on this page have I been accused of not knowing anything about rugby.
It has become almost taboo for me to mention it (see today’s letters page!), but Wales’ clash with Argentina at the Millennium Stadium had a selection issue I found crazy No Mike Phillips, described to me as one of the best in the world in his position.
And why no Phillips? Because he plays in France and couldn’t attend the training camp in Poland. Seriously? What is this, school football where little Jimmy can’t play for his team because he’s in the wrong catchment area?
I know that the idea is that it will serve as a lesson to those who turn their backs on regional rugby but, realistically speaking, that number joining the exodus will get larger and larger in the coming years.
The Celtic League, Magners League, RaboDirect Pro12, whatever you want to call it, simply doesn’t work.
People don’t want to watch the same teams season on season in a system where there is no relegation, no real drama and, very often, totally weakened sides due to international fixtures.
More pertinently, the numbers don’t add up. Why on earth shouldn’t Wales’ star men earn as much as they can playing in France? Or anywhere else for that matter.
That’s the future, that’s reality and until the WRU offer players a genuine reason to stay in Wales, rather than idle threats that only apply to Mike Phillips, that’s how it’ll stay.
The WRU has let a successful national side paper over numerous cracks for years now, but if the national side aren’t winning, what then?