Rugby fans will have noticed how many of the top players from the Southern hemisphere are being lured to France, and it is not just for the sun, wine, brie and bon vivant.
Nor is it any coincidence that French teams have reached the final of the Heineken Cup every season since inception in 1995-96 with the exception of only two seasons.
When Rugby Union turned professional the English Rugby Union introduced a salary cap to prevent clubs salaries spiralling out of control. France did not introduce such a cap. Hence stars such as Johnny Wilkinson, John Smit, Dan Carter, Francois Steyn, Victor Matfield and the like have been lured to France, by pay packets that are just too good to refuse.
With this year’s final an all French affair between Toulouse and Biarritz, won by the former 21-19, the British clubs are calling for a revision of the salary cap of four million pounds.
Interestingly France has announced that they too will now introduce a salary cap, although theirs will be set at seven million pounds.
Even without the extra money rugby in France just somehow has more appeal.