Monday, October 22, 2007

All Blacks in Europe

The last world cup illustrated a real problem for us as a rugby nation. We are caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand we do not want to allow players who leave NZ rugby for the dollars in Europe to be available for the AB's. This could lead to an exodus and leave NZ rugby a shell of its former selves. However, in refusing to allow these usually older veterans who will be much better players for their experiences in the rugged northern rugby leagues, we rob ourselves of their value. These guys have experienced the trench warfare of the Heinkein Cup and we need them. It also means that the NZ competition lacks hardness as the rugged, durable vets go off to Europe. We need these guys. I say it is time for the next world cup to allow any NZ player raised in our system to be available. We might find some first fives who have learnt to drop goals, players who know how to play knock out rugby. If restructure our rugby right, it will still work. At some point the European teams will cap the number of overseas players I am sure and we won't lose them all. If we reduce the number of NZ teams in the Super 14 and do not give All Black jersey's away so easily our wage bill will drop substantially. I am one who believes the winning the world cup makes it worth it. After all, where was Justin Marshall in the last few minutes of the cup? We needed the toughness of the likes of him and Tana Umaga.

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