Austin Healey believes England’s future lies in the southern hemisphere, suggesting the Rugby Football Union should establish a Super Rugby franchise in order to boost player skills.

Healey wrote in his column for the Telegraph that “we harp on about New Zealand’s aura but the reason they are the best team on the planet is because their basics of catching and passing are superb”.

“I have watched every game of the Premiership this season and some of the skill levels are terrible – truly terrible. They have dropped off from where they were last season,” Healy wrote.

Healy suggested the players lacked skills “because the game in England still revolves the set-piece”.


“The single biggest obstacle,” in English rugby, Healy wrote, “is this mindset relying on size and the set-piece to overcome everything. The fundamental problem is we go set-piece to set-piece, penalty to penalty. We attack players, not space, simply wanting to win the bloody collision. We play rugby to gain penalties rather than embrace the true essence of rugby, which is to score tries.”

Healy wrote that “radical action” was required, and he suggested the RFU could “buy out an existing Super Rugby franchise and fill it with English players they want to develop is required”.

“It is not like we have not got any skilled players here with Danny Cipriani, Henry Slade and many of the forwards having wonderful hands,” Healy wrote. “Yet they only seem to use those skills in the training paddock. It is either a case that they have got the skills and are too scared to use them or they have not got the skills or ability to use them.

“If you said to Jack Nowell that we want you to go and play in Perth for three years but we would bring you back for the Six Nations I am sure he would bite your hand off. If I was a back playing today in the Aviva Premiership I don’t think I would stay. Jack Nowell might be better off in Super Rugby.

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