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Flood to be left high and dry

Sun, 22 Dec 2013 06:29
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A policy of not selecting players not playing in England
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England flyhalf Toby Flood's move from Leicester Tigers to Toulouse will put his place in the World Cup squad in jeopardy.

The experienced playmaker will leave Tigers after all at the end of the season, the English Premiership giants director of rugby Richard Cockerill confirmed on Saturday.

The 28-year-old - capped 60 times but who is behind Owen Farrell in the pecking order for the number one England spot - is likely to sign for four-time European Cup winners Toulouse.

That, though, would rule him out of the 2015 World Cup - being hosted by England - as the Rugby Football Union have a policy of not selecting players not playing in England.

"Toby called me on Thursday and notified me he would no longer be at the club at the end of the season," Cockerill said prior to the 49-10 thrashing by English Premiership leaders Saracens.

"We put our best offer forward but I don't think it's a monetary thing, he wants to do something different and sees his chances with England being limited.

"There's a lot of rugby to go yet, he's our captain and will be playing until the end of the season if his form dictates that.

"We've lost some very big names from this club in the last 20 years but have been OK.

"Toby will go but we'll cope with it. Nobody is bigger than the club.

"You'd like to think Leicester is an attractive place to come to. We are looking at several options and I'm sure we'll find someone to do the job for us."

If Toulouse is indeed his next club then Flood would compete for the number one flyhalf role with promising 22-year-old Jean-Pascal Barraque and France international Lionel Beauxis.

Toulouse's current first choice former All Black flyhalf Luke McAlister - who is out injured till around February - has yet to be offered a new contract as his present one runs out at the end of this season.

AFP

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