Celts fear player exodus after Rugby world cup

An exodus of the best Irish and Welsh rugby players from their provinces after this year’s World Cup would have a negative effect on the European Cup, said European Rugby Cup (ERC) supremo Jean-Pierre Lux on Saturday.

The 65-year-old former French international centre – who is up for re-election on February 9 for a three year mandate and is being challenged by former England hooker and now Leicester Tigers managing director Peter Wheeler – told AFP both Welsh and Irish rugby chiefs had expressed their fears over the expected exodus.

“I am a little scared for what comes after the World Cup (starting in New Zealand on September 9 with the final on October 23),” said Lux, who has been president of the ERC since 1999.

“The Welsh and the Irish are a little anxious, as they fear an exodus of their players.

“I think that it would not be a good thing as it would weaken the provinces, because the players will leave for French or English clubs after the World Cup.

“It is vital to be conscious of the fact, that the overall level of the European Cup risks being affected,” added Lux, who was capped 47-times between 1967 and 1975.

While Welsh clubs have failed to reach a final since Cardiff lost to Brive in the inaugural final in 1996, Irish provinces have flourished with Munster winning it twice – and appearing in two other finals – and Ulster and Leinster once.

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