Williams says Europe's a threat - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Williams says Europe's a threat

By David Beniuk 31/05/2008 11:33:24 AM Comments (0)

New Wallabies assistant coach Jim Williams has returned from Ireland with a dire warning about the player drain from southern hemisphere rugby.

The former Munster captain and assistant coach, who will join New Zealander Robbie Deans' Wallabies coaching team on Monday after arriving home on Friday, said Australia's fringe Super 14 players will be the prime targets of cashed-up European clubs.

"I dare say they will be," Williams told reporters.

"It's the first places they look because obviously, looking at Australian and New Zealand players, they both have those problems where they have very good fringe players that are on the edge and that enticement of the financial reward is difficult to stop.

"It's going to be hard to compete with that but hopefully desire to play Super 14 and desire to get to that next level for Australia is the kind of player that you want."

Asked if young up-and-coming stars could also be lured north, Williams said: "Anything's possible from that point of view."

Williams was based in Ireland from 2001 until this year and said a European exodus, which has so far affected New Zealand more than Australia, was a real concern.

"It can be a threat. You're talking about teams at the top end of the market.

"Those kinds of teams have got a lot of money, those teams have got players from four or five different nations and top quality players coming from the World Cup so it is a little bit difficult."

Williams also bought into the experimental law variations (ELVs) argument, saying criticism in Europe, particularly England, had jumped the gun.

"It's conjecture about something that they haven't actually seen for themselves, seen in the flesh in Europe," he said.

"I think it's something that Europe just has to bring in and see how they go and obviously maybe a bit of compromise has to come out of that."

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