English rugby officials are not happy about leading players heading for the riches of France and, week by week, are ratcheting up the pressure on those heading across the Channel.
England’s recovery was always on the cards International rugby is a small pond with the same big fish taking it in turns to swim at the top. The bonus for those lurking just below, and even for the minnows in the depths, is that unlike in many other major sports they never disappear into the silt completely.
Wales fans are getting a bit ahead of themselves if they are looking towards a final-day Six Nations grand slam showdown with Ireland – there is the little matter of France in Paris to deal with first.Wales are on form and chasing a second successive grand slam. France are all over the place and coach Marc Lievremont has thrown fans another curve ball with his latest eccentric selections.