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O'Shea: We need more spending power

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea believes Aviva Premiership clubs have "little alternative" but to ratify a second salary cap increase in two years to keep pace with big-spending French counterparts.

League chiefs will vote through a £500,000 salary cap increase for next season in a board meeting on Wednesday.

The competition's board will also allow each squad to have a second marquee player for 2015/16 - to be recruited from overseas and not have played in the Premiership for at least 12 months.

Premiership clubs can already nominate one marquee player in their squad, whose wages are excluded from the salary cap constraints.

O'Shea admitted English clubs need extra buying power to keep their top stars on home soil past the World Cup.

"I think there is little alternative really, and there are some important changes," O'Shea told Press Association Sport.

"Wages are accelerating all the time in France and Japan, and we want to keep home grown players at home for as long as possible.

"These cap increases, yes they will allow us to improve squads but they also won't give you too much leeway to make huge amendments to your squad.

"Hopefully it will allow us just to keep competitive the whole time, retain what you've got and develop the young English players that don't stay for free."

The salary cap's base rate will rise to £5.1million for the 2015/16 season, with up to £400,000 available in extra credits.

The home grown player credit system will allow clubs to claim extra scope in the cap depending on each side's number of academy graduates in the first team squad.

Stuart Lancaster's policy of refusing to select overseas-based players for England has helped keep the majority of the country's talent in the Premiership.

The England head coach has only lost Steffon Armitage and Toby Flood to the riches on offer in France.

Flood left Leicester for Toulouse last summer well aware he was ending his England career in the process.

Armitage is now chasing selection for France despite holding five England caps.

O'Shea praised the revamped academy graduate credit scheme - and also backed the switch to allow clubs to add a second marquee signing.

"They are all great things, and there are things you can do that will allow you extra headroom to build that depth," said O'Shea.

"I think the extra marquee player is important too, we have Nick Evans here ourselves.

"With the right sort of person with the right ethic and character they can have a massive impact on the young players that are around.

"There are so many good, young English qualified players in the league now and I think that's going to stay there."

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