CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: More needed from imports
9:30am Thursday 28th February 2013 in Sport
LAST weekend saw a top of the table RaboDirect Pro12 clash between Glasgow and Ulster.
It was slightly devalued by it being international weekend, so overseas players were to the fore.
Josh Strauss, DTH van der Merwe and Niko Matawalu starred for the Scots while John Afoa and Ruan Pienaar led the charge for the Irish province.
Imports have to earn their corn all year round and the players named above are paid handsomely yet are good value for money.
That isn’t always the case, especially in Wales.
Try listing overseas players that have stood out in regional rugby this season. Kahn Fotuali’i at the Ospreys… erm, any more?
It’s not just a case of being unable to afford quality imports that demand big bucks; too often those that head for Wales on smaller but still considerable wages are not pulling their weight.
Whether Ian Nimmo has been a good signing may be debatable but at least the Essex-born Scotsman has totted up 20 Dragons appearances.
The rest of the overseas crew? Tonderai Chavhanga – 8, Tim Ryan – 6, Andy Tuilagi – 13, Jamie Smith – 0, Joe Bedford (who left at Christmas) – 0.
All of them, apart from Ryan, who has dropped beneath loosehead prop Nathan Williams in the tighthead queue, have been plagued by injury.
They may not be commanding the sort of figures that Pienaar, Afoa, Matawalu and Strauss take home but it all adds up and we should be getting more from them.
And the names of Campese Ma’afu, Andy Kyriacou and Tomas Vallejos show that the Dragons are not the only region suffering from this poor recruitment.