Friday, 14 January 2011

Should English clubs think twice before recruiting abroad?


On Thursday I broke a story about Springbok Francois Louw being lined up by Bath Rugby to replace the departing Luke Watson.
The story, it seems, is gaining traction in South Africa. As I write, it's the lead on www.sarugby.com.
But, as somebody points out in the comments section on that website, aren't we capable of producing loose forwards of sufficient quality in England?
Bath are not short of young, up-and-coming back-rowers, with home-grown starlets Guy Mercer and Josh Ovens leading the charge. I can't help feeling that the club's insistence on travelling around the southern hemisphere in search of an 'international-calibre' star to replace Watson is a kick in the teeth for these young guys, who have been knocking on the door for a good while now.
Moreover, an all-international back row can be a dangerous thing in World Cup year. Should Bath sign Louw and should Simon Taylor get a recall from Scotland - as his form merits - then Bath's entire first-choice back row of Moody, Taylor, Louw could be away at the start of the 2011-12 season.
Then the home-grown lads really will have to stand up and be counted.

Picture: Francois Louw, front, and Luke Watson during their days playing together for Western Province and The Stormers. Credit: Steve Haag, Back Page Sport SA

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