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Lancaster: Overseas policy will stay

England coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed there are no plans to change the policy of not selecting players from outside the Aviva Premiership despite seeing another contender leave for France.

Luke Narraway, England's back-row nearly man since an impressive debut against New Zealand in 2008, has confirmed he will be moving to Perpignan at the end of the season. The Gloucester captain has followed former London Irish flanker Steffon Armitage in deciding his rugby future lies in France and not on the international stage.

However, Lancaster said: "I think the policy is here to stay."

Nick Kennedy and Andrew Sheridan are both bound for Toulon while Delon Armitage has also been linked with a move to join his brother at the big-spending Top 14 club.

Steffon Armitage is now tearing up trees for Toulon but cannot be considered by England following the introduction of the RFU's foreign policy in November.

The directive was brought in by former chief executive John Steele but Lancaster cannot see it changing under the new boss Ian Ritchie, who took office on Monday.

"I spoke to Luke and he informed me of his intentions," Lancaster said. "It is player choice to decide where to go. It sounds like a great opportunity but it will make it very difficult to press his claims from overseas.

"There are plenty more people who want to play for England in the back row. He has made his decision and ultimately with that will come the risk in terms of international rugby."

Narraway is expected to be replaced at Gloucester by Ben Morgan, the current England number eight who plays his club rugby for the Scarlets.

Morgan is not currently affected by the RFU's stance because his current Scarlets contract was already in place when the policy came into force - but his next move must be to England.


From Belfast Telegraph