The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has established eligibility rules for international call-ups, meaning those not playing in England will be barred except “in extraordinary circumstances”

Stuart Lancaster names his 45-man squad for the tournament later this month, with many trumpeting the talents of France-based duo Steffon Armitage, who won the European Champions Cup with Toulon, and Clermont Auvergne full back Nick Abendanon.


Dallaglio, however, says any relaxation of the rules could undermine all of Lancaster’s hard work in creating a united dressing room after the cracks that appeared at the 2011 World Cup under previous coach Martin Johnson.

“From my point of view I honestly don’t believe the best place for an England international rugby player is down in the south of France,” Dallaglio, 42, said on Wednesday at the Daily Telegraph Business of Sport event in London.

“I think the players that went (abroad) did so because they were not good enough to get in the England team, although maybe they are now playing at the level of rugby where it is good enough. But I think it’s very clear, the best players should play in this country.

“If Steffon Armitage really wanted to play for England, then I’m sure if he went to the owner of Toulon and said, ‘Look, I’m really passionate about playing for England – would you mind if you release me from my contract? I’d like to go and join Bath or Northampton or Wasps or Harlequins, or any of those clubs’

“I’m sure he would do that because he’s a man who’s driven by passion, whether it’s for his club or for his country.”

“They are the right rules and I don’t think they should be broken.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)