England star Tait backs players move to France

Sale Sharks Full Back Mathew Tait says that he believes the opportunities available for English players to play club rugby France are a “brilliant experience” for all English players.

Fifteen British players made the move to France’s Top14 from the Guinness Premiership over the summer. The highest profile of these signings was England’s Rugby world cup winning star Jonny Wilkinson who moved to Toulon.

Whilst it’s not known exactly what Wilkinson will earn a year it has been reported in France that he will earn in the region of £650,000-a-year as Toulon and French clubs are not restricted by the salary cap as the Premiership sides are.

Apart from the obvious financial benefits of playing rugby in France Tait says that he believes the glamour of playing for clubs such as Stade Francais is the greater achievement.

“I don’t think the money is the only motivation for the English players who have moved.” Tait told Sky Sports.

“There is obviously no salary cap over there which is a luxury the French clubs are afforded compared with the England clubs.

“The opportunity to play for big clubs like Stade Francais and Toulon, to be down in places like Paris and on the sunny Med and places like that, the lifestyle, rugby, obviously money is a factor, I think it is a brilliant experience for the guys who have made the switch.”

Tait’s team were probably the hardest hit by the French signings last season and they lost the likes of Scotland internationals Rory Lamont and Jason White to Toulon and Clermont-Auvergne respectively.

They did however buck the trend and managed to sign Ben Cohen who was based in France and playing for Brive.

Rugby World Cup winning Cohen is England second highest try scorer and will now team up with another England winger in Mark Cueto at Edgeley Park this season, and Tait is hoping his arrival will inspire Sale Sharks towards a successful campaign.

“Ben is vastly experienced and he has scored a shed-load of tries for England when he was involved in that. I know he is back over and he is hungry to be back and performing in the Premiership ,” he said.

“We’ve been in pre-season for three or four weeks now working hard and it’s one of those now where everyone wants to just play a game.

“I’ve not played in a pre-season game yet so I’m looking forward to building into the first game against Leicester Tigers.

“It’s always nice to play against the best team, Leicester Tigers were that last year so it is going to be a challenge for us to try and start our season off with a win.”

“Fingers crossed it will go alright.”

Sale will be looking to fair better this season as they missed out on a Guinness Premiership play off place by one point when victories for London Irish, Bath and Harlequins in the final round meant their victory over Northampton mattered for nothing.

“It was massively disappointing last season, we have a bit of a disappointing period through the middle of the season so we need to pick up a few more points there and finish strongly like we did last year.

“Losing guys like Juan Fernandez Lobbe who was brilliant for us last year is a loss but the guys that have come in, Sisse (Sisaro Kayamaibole) and Mo (Mahonri Schwalger) and those guys have trained really well so far and I think they are looking forward to getting a run out with the boys.

“We have to go into every game with the a

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