Joe Launchbury George Kruis Britain Australia South Africa Japan Rugby England Joe Launchbury George Kruis Britain Australia South Africa Japan

England lock says more players could move to Japan

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England international Joe Launchbury said on Wednesday that financial uncertainty in European club rugby could persuade more players to follow in his footsteps and move to Japan.The 31-year-old lock, who has won 65 caps for his country, left stricken English giants Wasps in November to sign a one-season deal with Toyota Verblitz in big-spending Japan Rugby League One.Wasps and fellow Premiership side Worcester were relegated from English rugby's Premiership in October after they entered administration as a result of unpaid tax bills.READ | 5 out of 5 qualifiers: Who the SA franchises will play in the European knockoutsLaunchbury said the "squeeze" in the English game could force more players to look elsewhere and gave Japan a ringing endorsement despite breaking his hand in his first game for Toyota.The Rugby Football Union forbids players who are based overseas from representing England but Launchbury believes those who are not in the frame for international honours could be tempted by the Japanese league."We've got a lot of Australians and South Africans who are young and it's a great opportunity for them," he said of his Toyota team-mates."I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be the same for young English guys to come out and try something different."Several star international names have moved to Japan in recent years, and Launchbury plays alongside South Africa's 2019 world player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit at Toyota.Most of the league's overseas players come from the Southern Hemisphere, although England's George Kruis spent two seasons at Panasonic Wild Knights before retiring last year.Shorter seasonHadleigh Parkes, who won 29 caps for Wales before moving to Japan in 2020, believes the financial situation

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