Rugby Union: Foreign Policy; Wales Coach Warren Gatland Has Sparked a Major Debate with His Call to Cut Back on the Number of Imported Players in the Welsh Game. Here, the Regions - and Our Readers - Have Their Say. Change Is Unlikely in Short Term Ospreys View

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 21, 2008 | Go to article overview

Rugby Union: Foreign Policy; Wales Coach Warren Gatland Has Sparked a Major Debate with His Call to Cut Back on the Number of Imported Players in the Welsh Game. Here, the Regions - and Our Readers - Have Their Say. Change Is Unlikely in Short Term Ospreys View


Byline: Andrew Hore

WARREN GATLAND has been told his wish to see Welsh rugby's foreign policy changed cannot work in the short term.

The Wales coach has called for the Ospreys, Scarlets, Blues and Dragons to reduce to three or four non-Welsh qualified players each by 2012.

But Andrew Hore, new boss at the Ospreys, believes itwill take at least 10years for Gatland's wishes to come true.

Hore, who was conditioning coach to the 2005 Grand Slam winning Welsh team, agrees with Gatland that the number of foreign players per region needs to come down.

But he says the whole issue here needs to be kept in perspective, arguing the percentage of foreign professional players in Wales is significantly less than that in England.

Hore argues the foreign influx at the Ospreys and the Blues has helped achieve success in Europe, which spins off on the national team.

Gatland made his call for change in a bid to increase the pool of Welsh players available to him at international level.

Key members of Gatland's 2008 Grand Slam winning class, including Mike Phillips and Jonathan Thomas, were denied top regional rugby last season because of the presence of foreigners at the Ospreys.

The Blues have non-Welshstars holding down key positions, ditto the Scarlets, while the Dragons have just signed new players from Super 14.

Hore, the Ospreys elite performance director, said: "I am in agreement with Warren that the number of non-Welshplayers over here should be reduced. But I am not sure such a goal can be achieved within three or four years."

He continued: "We need to put this problem in context, anyway.

Sixteen per cent of professional players in Wales are foreigners, compared to 33 per cent in England.

"The Welsh figure is not fantastically high. …

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Rugby Union: Foreign Policy; Wales Coach Warren Gatland Has Sparked a Major Debate with His Call to Cut Back on the Number of Imported Players in the Welsh Game. Here, the Regions - and Our Readers - Have Their Say. Change Is Unlikely in Short Term Ospreys View
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