Rugby Union: The talent exodus: Eight years of Welsh emigration

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The Independent Online
1986: Robert Ackerman (Cardiff to Whitehaven, pounds 60,000); Gary Pearce (Llanelli to Hull, pounds 80,000).

1987: Stuart Evans (Swansea to St Helens, pounds 80,000).

1988: David Bishop (Pontypool to Hull KR, pounds 90,000); Adrian Hadley (Cardiff to Salford, pounds 100,000).

1989: Jonathan Davies (Llanelli to Widnes, pounds 150,000); Paul Moriarty (Swansea to Widnes, pounds 100,000); Jonathan Griffiths (Llanelli to St Helens, pounds 150,000); John Devereux (Bridgend to Widnes, pounds 150,000).

1990: David Young (Cardiff to Leeds, pounds 165,000).

1991: Mark Jones (Neath to Hull, pounds 100,000); Rowland Phillips (Neath to Warrington, pounds 85,000); Kevin Ellis (Bridgend to Warrington, pounds 80,000); Allan Bateman (Neath to Warrington, pounds 80,000); Gerald Cordle (Cardiff to Bradford Northern, pounds 50,000); Matthew Silva (Pontypool to Halifax, pounds 20,000).

1993: Richard Webster (Swansea to Salford, pounds 150,000); Scott Gibbs (Swansea to St Helens, pounds 200,000).

1994: Scott Quinnell (Llanelli to Wigan, pounds 400,000).

Quinnell is the 164th Welsh international (out of 910) to turn professional. He made his debut against Canada on 10 November, 1993. He won nine caps for Wales, scoring three tries.

All bar Ellis, Cordle and Silva of the above list were full internationals. Ellis had toured with Wales B, Cordle had been in a Wales B squad and Silva had played for Wales Youth and been a replacement for Wales B.

Of the Welsh team which won the Triple Crown for the first time in nine years in 1988, Davies, Hadley, Moriarty, Phillips and Young have all gone north. Griffiths and Devereux were also part of the squad at the time.

The Welsh Rugby Union spent pounds 802,477 on development in 1992-93 and a further pounds 668,769 in 1993-94. The WRU has just spent pounds 50,000 on the Welsh Schools Under-18 tour to Australia, where they beat the home side for the first time.

There are 17,500 senior players among the 212 Welsh Rugby Union member clubs, a further 5,000 at the Welsh Districts clubs and around 50,000 players aged 8-19.