All Black coach Graham Henry has warned England’s future success at international level is being harmed by the mass recruitment of New Zealand players into the elite Premiership club competition.
Several All Blacks, including Carl Hayman, Chris Jack and Luke McAlister, opted to play in the Premiership following New Zealand’s quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff during last year’s World Cup, according to an AFP report on www.sport24.co.za.
They joined a raft of New Zealanders already in England, yet such is their playing strength the All Blacks responded to this latest depletion of their resources by going on to win this year’s Tri-Nations title.
There has been no let-up in New Zealand’s form since their arrival in Europe and victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday will see the All Blacks complete a grand slam after wins already this month against Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
England were thrashed 42-6 by world champions South Africa at Twickenham last weekend as they suffered their heaviest home defeat.
And Henry warned the presence of so many Kiwis in key positions at club sides was hampering the development of future England players.
“It’s about getting the opportunity to play at the top level,” said Henry. “When you continue to fill up the Premiership with New Zealanders and the English guys don’t get a chance then the national side is going to suffer.
“The best way is to stop all of the Kiwis coming over,” the former Wales coach added.
Although England were savaged by the Springboks, Henry was adamant his men were expecting a stern test this weekend against a side they’ve beaten in their last six meetings.
“The score against South Africa wasn’t a true indication of the game,” insisted Henry. “England wouldn’t have been happy with their performance, but the score was bit off.
“England have traditionally been the strongest of the four nations over the last 30 years.
“They’re going through a team-building process and will have been ‘steeled’ by what happened at the weekend. They’ll give everything to play well. We understand that and will prepare accordingly.”Tweet