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Noble wants more union poaching

Brian Noble
Noble is the former Great Britain national head coach

Wigan head coach Brian Noble believes Super League clubs should be buying up rugby union's big stars.

The former GB coach is advocating the scheme in order to bring more British and Irish talent into the sport.

"Every club should be given a remit to sign one union home nations player," Noble told The Super League Show.

"Just imagine the national headlines our game would generate for bringing the likes of a Jonny Wilkinson or a Brian O'Driscoll across."

Union clubs have been plucking league's biggest names since their game turned professional in 1995.

Many have switched codes but later returned to league, though the likes of Andy Farrell, Lesley Vainikolo and Shontayne Hape continue to ply their trade in the 15-man game.

Noble added: "The idea would involve signing those union players outside of the salary cap, but there would be a limit to say 50,000.

It would just be like when all the Welsh players came across like Scott Gibbs and Jonathan Davies, it took them a while to get up to speed and it would be the same in this case.

Brian Noble

"A club could then find a sponsor or some other way of funding that player.

"I think there should be a limit to one player per club due to the financial aspect of it."

Union players have not always been able to adapt to the league game, and vice versa, but Noble does not think bringing union stars across to the 13-a-side game would be a gamble.

"We are talking about numbers at the end of the day," he said.

"So if only one player is good enough to make it, that's one extra player.

"This is where my safety net limit of 50,000 comes into play too, because then there is an element of development.

"It would just be like when all the Welsh players came across, like Scott Gibbs and Jonathan Davies.

"It took them a while to get up to speed and it would be the same in this case.

"I've been saying this since 2006, as have other people. We are an innovative sport and this is something we could do."

You can watch the The Super League Show again on the BBC iPlayer or via the BBC Red Button.

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see also
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League
Hull FC 18-10 Wigan
13 Feb 09 |  Rugby League


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