England head coach Stuart Lancaster not budging on Top 14 players
England head coach Stuart Lancaster insists players based in France are unlikely to be selected for the autumn internationals
Stuart Lancaster has refused to budge on his stance regarding English players plying their trade in France, despite growing pressure for the likes of the Armitage brothers to be selected.
Players based in France are only available to join up with the international squad in official international windows, a fact that does Toulon’s Delon and Steffon Armitage no favours at all in the eyes of the head coach, who led England to second in this year’s Six Nations.
Steffon was named player of the season in the Top 14 last campaign while new signing Delon has been in fine try-scoring form since his arrival on the French Riviera.
But despite their obvious credentials, and in the case of Delon the injury to fellow full-back Ben Foden, neither appears likely to be selected for the autumn internationals after Lancaster all but ruled them out of contention.
“What makes it difficult when a player plays in France is they are not available for our camps when we need them,” Lancaster said.
“We have got a camp coming up at the end of this month (at St George’s Park) and 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 (in June) 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.”
© Sportsbeat 2012