Rugby Union: Andrew is alarmed by pay to play

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ROB ANDREW, the England fly-half, has accused the game's administrators of forcing players into becoming professionals by burdening them with an increasingly heavy schedule of fixtures.

'I'd like rugby to stay amateur. But I don't think it's possible because the authorities keep asking too much of the players, and you can't do that,' he said on Monday.

Andrew, capped 57 times for England, added: 'You can't keep asking the players to play more matches. The game is being forced down the semi-professional route.'

Despite pressure from many quarters, the International Rugby Board, the world governing body, has refused to sanction payments to players and coaches, who have to take leave from their jobs to train, travel and play for national teams.

Andrew, who is opposed to players being paid in rugby union, was speaking in Abu Dhabi en route to South Africa to promote the sport among young children.

He added: 'It (professionalism) takes something from the game. I play for England because I like to play. If it becomes a professional sport, the players will be in for the money and that will change their attitudes. But maybe I'm wrong.'