SPIRO: Steve Hansen is wrong about Harris

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    Mik Harris will be a big in for the Rebels AFP PHOTO / Juan Mabromata

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    A year or so before rugby became an officially professional code, sometime in late 1994, I guess, I chatted with the chairman of the NZRU Rob Fisher about the implications of the change.

    He told me that New Zealand and Australia would probably suffer, in terms of losing players to cashed-up England and France.

    “But we have to push it forward to ensure the worldwide success of the game,” he said.

    The IRB, to its credit, has put in place a smart and essentially fair system of ensuring the rights of players to ply their trade at the international level, without unduly compromising the nationalistic element that makes Test rugby such a fervent and passionate spectacle.

    The main elements of this system are:

    1. Once a player represents a nation at the Test level, he cannot play Test rugby for another nation.

    This once-a-Wallaby-always-a-Wallaby rule (or once any other nation) rule stops the possibility of national sides buying great Test stars from other nations. Test rugby is saved by this rule from becoming like the England Premiership League where hardly any English players represent for the great clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and so on.

    George Gregan, Richie McCaw and the other stars of the professional era have their chance to play over 100 Tests for their country rather than being bought off by the big offers from other rugby nations.

    2. A player born in a country is automatically eligible to play for that country, if he wants to, even if he has lived somewhere else for most of his life.

    You could call this the Brad Thorn rule. Thorn spent all his adult life inAustralia. But because he was born in Mosgiel, a small town near Dunedin, he was eligible to play for the All Blacks when he left rugby league and the Brisbane Broncos and joined up with the Canterbury Crusaders.

    I reckon that 90 percent-plus of Test players represent the nation of their birth. And this is a good thing. Fans need to feel an emotional affinity, particularly through blood ties, with the players of the teams they are supporting.

    3. If a player has spent three years playing senior rugby in a country, which is not where he was born, providing he hasn’t played Test rugby, he can represent the nation of his current residence.

    This could be called the Taweru Kerr-Barlow dispensation. The Chiefs brilliant halfback was born in Darwin but has lived most of his life in New Zealand. He desperately wanted to be an All Black, so offers to play in Australia and consider a Wallaby jersey were rejected.

    The Franks brothers, the stalwart All Black props, were born in Melbourne. They were both ‘warehoused’ by the All Blacks selectorsto stop them from playing for the Wallabies.

    Something of the same thing was done by Robbie Deans with Quade Cooper, who was eligible to play for the All Blacks by right of birth. At the RWC 2011 tournament I saw a placard making this very point: “A DINGO STOLE OUR QUADIE.”

    And this is where Mike Harris comes into the picture. He was not wanted for Super Rugby any of the five franchises in New Zealand. Ewen McKenzie made him an offer for the Reds which he couldn’t refuse.

    He was right to take up the offer, as history now shows.

    He got into the Wallabies because of injuries to any number of players and now he has won a Test by kicking a penalty from near touch on the bell against Wales, and helped the Wallabies to a memorable 18-18 draw against the All Blacks by kicking five penalties out of five.

    Despite the protestations of the All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, Harris is a genuine Wallaby. He has qualified correctly and his performances in the gold jersey indicate that he respects the team and the system that has given him his chance at international play.

    You could argue that this is the players get out of jail card. If they cannot see a way of representing the country of their birth or if they really want to represent another country or if another country wants them and their homeland doesn’t, this is the dispensation that gives the player the chance to change his rugby destiny.

    It does work for Australian rugby better than it does for New Zealand rugby, as Hansen suggests. But he is wrong to use this as an argument against the rule. New Zealand rugby could have had Harris, if they had wanted him. They didn’t want him, not even for Super Rugby.

    Increasingly, England and France are using this dispensation to beef up their teams. There are several New Zealanders and Islanders playing for England, for example. That is their choice, which is how it should be.

    But this initiative by England (after Scotland’s ‘kilted Kiwis’ selections) is indicative of a hypocritical change of  attitude by a number of the senior UK rugby writers. For years they have bagged NZ rugby for ‘stealing’ Pacific Island players. Now the England selectors are being begged to pick the eligible New Zealanders, Pacific Islander players, South Africans, anyone in fact who can strengthen the wayward England team.

    We don’t hear the argument from these writers much now about the All Blacks being Samoa/Fiji B.

    The fact is that not many players born out of New Zealand have represented the All Blacks in the professional era, about 15 or so. And most of these players, like Jerry Collins, came to New Zealand very young and were educated from primary school through in NZ and were New Zealanders in every respect.

    On the other hand, there are probably 50 Zealanders playing international rugby right now for countries other than NZ. There were about 60 NZ players representing countries like Japan, Australia, Samoa, and Tonga at the RWC 2011.

    The days of players like the great Des Connor representing the Wallabies and the All Blacks are over.

    But in the modern era there is something to be said for a system that preserves the singular nature of Test rugby while also preserving the chances of players to play Test rugby, if a country wants them in their team.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (203)

    • October 24th 2012 @ 3:03am
      ThelmaWrites said | October 24th 2012 @ 3:03am | ! Report

      Good morning, Spiro.

      I’ve just been re-reading Fitzie’s “The Rugby War”. By his account, the “War” was conceived and pursued in 1995.

      So if you and Rob Fisher were discussing rugby becoming a professional code in 1994, you two had great prescience!

      I find the events of the “War” still gripping reading, despite reading the book twice and watching the DVD once.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 9:58am
        Billy Bob said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        To be fair, it should be remembered that Hansen was, and still is I imagine dealing with two ‘losses’ this week.
        Those calling his comment ‘childish’ etc should remember that he may be dealing with family grief.
        He should be given the benefit of the doubt, even if we don’t agree with him.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 9:43pm
          NC said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

          Exactly. Well said BB. Out of character. Clearly a tough week for SH. O’Neill typically bars up because he knows he can’t lose. No f***ing class at all. Could have just let it go.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 11:25am
        Jokerman said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        The rules were changed though, in my view to weaken some upcoming nations. This has hurt the island teams. The one nation rule. Under the old system someone like Frank Bunce, could play for Samoa, and then get picked for the All Blacks. That was good for everyone…oh, except England etc…As they could get beaten at the RWC, so they changed it. There are so many top players under that rule that are unavailable come RWC time to play. So many ex all Black playing their trade overseas with a Samoan heritage or simple NZ heritage but playing in Japan. Not good enough for the All Blacks but would make the Samoan team or Japan. No the threat to the All blacks…but defiantly the British teams. IRB bestows there control.

        Stat of origin is similar in some varied way. It wasn’t until NZ won the World cup in league that Australia stating poaching kiwi players. The simple answer to this is allowing Origin players to play for their chosen country. Ahh SBW playing for Queensland or NSW then representing the Kiwi’s. Won’t happen too much freedom to the players and it weaken Australia, but enhances NZ.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 1:18pm
          Jokerman said | October 24th 2012 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

          Excuse my grammar in the last post…I was at a net cafe with 10 secs to send!

          My point was there is a lack of genuine intent from the IRB. Always favoring their own interests, against the greater good of the game.

          And is just me or did it seem strange how certain things unfolded with The All Blacks going for their record? 9-0 on the penalty count against SA around half time. All Blacks first penalty at around the 55 minute mark…and a few at the end when the game was won. I felt he only gave them to smudge his bias referring.

          And against Australia recently. Jane chip kicks and is interfered….but not seen by the lines men. A ruck happens, penalty given. McCaw then kneed in the head and throat, then a head butt. It was a dead playing time, whistle had gone, so there is no excuses for the lines man to be looking else where…but he misses it, from 15 meters out. I think he was South African.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 3:55pm
          DeanP said | October 24th 2012 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

          Except Oz have not poached any Kiwi league players, since they were all developed in the Oz system, which is the context in which Hansen has claimed that Harris was pinched.

    • October 24th 2012 @ 3:40am
      jus de couchon said | October 24th 2012 @ 3:40am | ! Report

      Perhaps the comercialisation of sport is typified by Rugby. The Idea that an International sport can remain unaffected by the realities of market forces is an Illusion.

    • Roar Guru

      October 24th 2012 @ 4:17am
      peeeko said | October 24th 2012 @ 4:17am | ! Report

      i would like the residence rule to be changed from 3 to 5

      • October 24th 2012 @ 9:05am
        Brendon said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Peeko, remember that careers are’nt all that long and 5 years is a massive gap in professional sport. Maybe 4 years? so that way it is at least a world cup time frame in a country?

      • October 24th 2012 @ 9:47am
        soapit said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        i agree (maybe even 6). as to it being too long out of someones career this rule only comes in play for those who have no other right to represent the country they’ve moved to. generally it would only be taking time out of peoples international career if they had moved there specifically to play for that country with no other links to it (which is the type of switch we all want to avoid) and if they were good enough they could always play for where they were born. if ur good enough you’ll get a game.

        i’d also like them to relax the one country rule to stop the warehousing and glut of one test players. id change it to you could represent two but you’d need to have a 6 year gap between the two (so they’d at least miss one world cup to change) and they’d also need to satisfy the other conditions (born there or heritage or have lived there for the 6 years).

      • October 24th 2012 @ 9:56am
        soapit said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        it would also stop players avoiding representing a small nation because it would exclude them from one day making big bucks playing for the big countries.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 7:55pm
          IronAwe said | October 24th 2012 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

          6 years?? That’s an entire career for some players. I don’t understand why people have a problem with this. Let people play for who they want to play for. No one forces them to make these decisions. A better idea would be for the IRB to offer lower tier nations some kind of financial benefit to help keep their players.

    • October 24th 2012 @ 4:28am
      Jerry said | October 24th 2012 @ 4:28am | ! Report

      “The Franks brothers, the stalwart All Black props, were born in Melbourne. They were both ‘warehoused’ by the All Blacks selectorsto stop them from playing for the Wallabies.”

      Only Ben Franks was born in Melbourne, Owen was born in NZ.
      Also, the fact that Ben Franks has now played 21 test matches and was a part of the RWC squad suggests he was selected on merit, not merely to prevent him playing for Aus.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 6:08am
        mania said | October 24th 2012 @ 6:08am | ! Report

        unlike what deans did with cooper vuna

        • October 24th 2012 @ 8:50am
          formeropenside said | October 24th 2012 @ 8:50am | ! Report

          and Timani in 2011 v Samoa

        • October 24th 2012 @ 9:47am
          soapit said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          i doubt deans was too worried about the all blacks picking cooper vuna

          • October 24th 2012 @ 10:16am
            Jutsie said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:16am | ! Report

            Nah but tonga were interested in him for their 2011 WC squad, same with timani.

            • October 24th 2012 @ 1:17pm
              RebelRanger said | October 24th 2012 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

              All Blacks do this also. Manu Samoa were interested in Soseni Anesi (who I don’t rate anyway).

              • October 24th 2012 @ 3:37pm
                Jerry said | October 24th 2012 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                I don’t think you can accurately make that claim.

                Sure, Anesi only played the one test but he’s hardly the only All Black of recent years who’s played only a handful. Kevin Senio, Campbell Johnstone, Angus MacDonald, Greg Rawlinson, Scott Hamilton, John Schwalger, Ross Filipo, Kevin O’Neill, Clarke Dermody, Jamie McIntosh, Scott Waldrom, Alby Mathewson, Bryn Evans, Leila Masaga, George Whitelock, Mike Delaney, Benson Stanley etc.

                All those guys were selected by Henry and have played 4 or fewer tests. Some have dual eligibility, some do not.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 7:22am
        Justin2 said | October 24th 2012 @ 7:22am | ! Report

        And the same could be said of Cooper…

        • October 24th 2012 @ 7:35am
          Jerry said | October 24th 2012 @ 7:35am | ! Report

          Exactly – both Henry and Deans capped loads of players during their tenures. It’s hardly surprising they gave a couple of promising young Super Rugby players a chance at test level.

          On the same tour that Franks was first capped, Jamie McIntosh, Hika Elliott, Liam Messam, Scott Waldrom, Cory Jane and Hosea Gear also debuted. Some of them have had successful AB careers, some not so much. Only Waldrom has any dual eligibility that I’m aware of, so the claims of ‘warehousing’ are completely unfounded.

        • October 26th 2012 @ 2:00pm
          Bridge said | October 26th 2012 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          The same can not be said of Copper as he has lived in Australia since high school represented Aus schoolboys (has the most caps ever) He came through the system here in Aus so NZ should not care about him as he left years ago and I know that most NZ doesn’t care that he is a Wallaby. He would never make it into the All Blacks either.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 12:01pm
        atlas said | October 24th 2012 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

        The Franks brother went through the NZ schools system, Christchurch Boys High School and school age-group teams.
        Ben was born in Melbourne while his NZ parents worked there, Owen back at ‘home’ Motueka, within the Crusaders franchise area so they haven’t moved far; unless NZRU signed them up as 3 year olds, this ‘warehousing suggestion is pure BS.
        Ben played NZ Schoolboys 2003, 2005, and NZ U19 in 2003, NZ U21 in 2004, 2005.
        A simple resource to avoid incorrect info like this is http://stats.allblacks.com/asp/Profile.asp?ABID=1084 which lists the details of every overseas-born All Black since the 1880s.
        I count 20 from Australia – and just 13 from Samoa. Pillaging the Pacific Islands, anyone?

    • Roar Guru

      October 24th 2012 @ 5:05am
      SandBox said | October 24th 2012 @ 5:05am | ! Report

      “For years they have bagged NZ rugby for ‘stealing’ Pacific Island players”

      Can you blame them, when the Abs have been number 1 for so long? If you can’t beat them in the eligibility cheating game, join them. The more islanders in Australia the better. NZ thinks they own Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. We don’t think this, but we do offer them and their families job opportunities they can’t get from a dairy based economy

      • October 24th 2012 @ 5:28am
        James said | October 24th 2012 @ 5:28am | ! Report

        You sound like a novice writer for the UK Daily telegraph. A llot of talk with no substance.

        In case you didn’t know,Samoa was a territory of NZ before its Independence in 1962. yes that meant Samoans had legal obligations to have a minimum levy on bringing Samoan families into the country. This similar policy was extended to other islands which is why islanders are the 3rd biggest ethnic group in NZ (over 350,000). Samoans make up 50% of this group.

        I guess Australia made a mistake opening its immigration polices to Europe in the 1950s while NZ turned to the pacific in the same period and yes polynesians.

        • Roar Guru

          October 24th 2012 @ 5:37am
          SandBox said | October 24th 2012 @ 5:37am | ! Report

          50 years ago perhaps NZ did own Samoa – said with NZ modesty *cough*. How you can boast about owning another nation to boost your own rugby stocks is beyond me…and you have a proud 50 year history of doing it!

          Regardless of your ethnic connection, you don’t own them. Neither do we, or countries closer geographically. NZ arrogance towards Islanders is astounding. From my time in Tonga, many felt the same way. Hopefully, this applies to all Island nations. Your time as the self-appointed masters of the Polynesian race may be coming to an end

          • October 24th 2012 @ 5:50am
            Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 5:50am | ! Report

            New Zealand was given governance over Samoa after the second world war up until 1962 as our reward for helping the Allies under the League of Nations.

            Boosting our stocks? Well try this one on for size, 13 Samoans have represented New Zealand in tests in over 100 years, yet there were 13 New Zealanders in Samoa’s Rugby World Cup 2011 Squad.

            We haven’t self appointed that name to ourselves at all. It’s a name that you have labeled to us to try and back up your flawed argument.

            • Roar Guru

              October 24th 2012 @ 6:24am
              SandBox said | October 24th 2012 @ 6:24am | ! Report

              ‘New Zealand was given governance over Samoa after the second world war up until 1962 as our reward for helping the Allies under the League of Nations.’

              Lets not delude ourselves here. Oz involvement would not have stopped the Japenese if they came in real force, and NZ was at best 1/3 our involvement. If it wasn’t for pearl harbour, we would have had serious problems in our back yard. I have two relatives that were Anzacs so I say this with no disrespect to their part in WWII. To be rewarded with ownership of a nation when your part was, at best, small – should require great humility

              • October 24th 2012 @ 6:41am
                Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 6:41am | ! Report

                Maybe they thought it could be mutually beneficial to both countries?

              • October 24th 2012 @ 7:51am
                mikeylives said | October 24th 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

                WTF are you on about? Talk about the sake of arguing.

                Kane gave you a sound beating there. Just let it lie.

              • October 24th 2012 @ 4:41pm
                NickF said | October 24th 2012 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

                “Oz involvement would not have stopped the Japenese if they came in real force, and NZ was at best 1/3 our involvement.”

                What?

                I really hope your talking rugby here, Sandbox, because I don’t care how many ANZAC relatives you have, that’s pretty disrespectful and incorrect.

            • October 24th 2012 @ 6:39am
              mania said | October 24th 2012 @ 6:39am | ! Report

              kane – how many AB’s though have samoa heritage? thats a more than telling stat on samoa’s contribution to nz.
              i agree tho that other than sandBox no one said anyone “owned” samoa. nz occupied samoa but were never invited or wanted there. hence why samoa was the 1st pacific nation to seek independence thru the UN.

              • October 24th 2012 @ 7:50am
                Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 7:50am | ! Report

                Also we were the first country to let a Pacific Island to have their independance.

                That would be an incredibly hard stat to figure out, but like I said with there being 13 New Zealand born players in the Samoan team in one RWC squad, how many Samoan players have Kiwi heritage.

                That being said, Samoa definantly benefit from NZ born and raised players going through our systems, not being quite good enough to make the All Blacks, transfering and playing for them.

                Also is the Samoan team a combination of American Samoa and Samoa or just a product of Samoa?

              • October 24th 2012 @ 7:55am
                mania said | October 24th 2012 @ 7:55am | ! Report

                kane – nz didnt “let” samoa have its independence. samoa were given its independence by the uninted Nations when samoa appealed the appalling treatment of the then occupying nz govt.
                to name a few
                Tana Umaga, Eroni Clarke , Michael Jones , Sonny Bill Williams, josh Kronfeld, christian cullen

              • Roar Pro

                October 24th 2012 @ 8:14am
                Terry Tavita said | October 24th 2012 @ 8:14am | ! Report

                no non-samoan has ever played for the samoan national team..you forget samoa is a country as it is a distinct ethnicity, culture and heritage..we do not make an issue of where our people were born as kiwis do..where you were born is something that is beyond your control..

              • October 24th 2012 @ 8:21am
                Jerry said | October 24th 2012 @ 8:21am | ! Report

                Except Frank Bunce…

                (joking, I know he’s got some Samoan heritage).

              • Roar Pro

                October 24th 2012 @ 8:27am
                Terry Tavita said | October 24th 2012 @ 8:27am | ! Report

                “Also we were the first country to let a Pacific Island to have their independance.”

                that’s an insult kane, our leaders fought and were killed for our independence from new zealand..but we are very good friends now..

              • October 24th 2012 @ 9:24am
                Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:24am | ! Report

                Sorry my mistake I thought that was the case

              • October 24th 2012 @ 9:33am
                mania said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

                thanx for the apology kane

              • October 24th 2012 @ 9:34am
                Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:34am | ! Report

                Terry Tavita you may be able to answer my previous question, is the Samoan national rugby team made up of players from both Samoa and American Samoa? Or are players from American Samoa ineligible?

              • October 24th 2012 @ 9:43am
                Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 9:43am | ! Report

                Not a problem mania I was wrong and owed one

              • Roar Pro

                October 24th 2012 @ 10:08am
                Terry Tavita said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                american samoa was recently granted full membership of the irb, so i don’t know how eligibility will work..but american samoans have played for manu samoa, eg keiki misipeka, a former UH running back, setefano setefano, manaia salave’a and others..families though straddle both sides of the samoas and perhaps under current irb rules, most players can play for both ‘countries’..some manu samoa players could easily play for american samoa..american samoa now has pretty handy sevens team called talavalu who competed in this year’s oceania sevens and beat tonga..

              • October 24th 2012 @ 10:28am
                Tigranes said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:28am | ! Report

                Jerry

                I thought Bunce’s heritage was from Niue??

              • October 24th 2012 @ 10:36am
                mania said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                kane its not a problem, especially if u man enuf to apologise. i appreciate it and i dont blame u for not knowing bout samoan history, but just a warning that to samoans the nz occupation is a sore point.
                american samoa is not eligible for manu samoa as its a whole other country. samoa (previously western samoa) is an independent nation, american samoa is a dependent of the US
                tigranes – yes bunce was more nuiean than samoan. his great grandmother was samoan but the rest of him was palagi (white) and niue. so i think makes him an 16th samoan which jus happens to be the minimum for eligibility

              • October 24th 2012 @ 11:06am
                Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:06am | ! Report

                Thanks, I’m wondering what Kainos eligibility is, considering he was born in American Samoa.

                Also wondering what the rules are for the home nations, for example does the Republic of Ireland include Northern Ireland? One being a independent nation and the other being part of Great Britian.

                What criteria do they use to seperate Wales from Scotland and England as technically they aren’t countries?

              • October 24th 2012 @ 11:16am
                Jerry said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:16am | ! Report

                Tigranes – that was why I was joking. He is primarily NZ/Nuiean, but does have some Samoan ancestry. He has made jokes about his own eligibility in the past.

              • Roar Pro

                October 24th 2012 @ 11:30am
                Terry Tavita said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                kaino’s parents are both from (western) samoa..they worked in the canneries in pago before moving to nz..the malifa twins who play for the US Eagles could’ve played for four national teams..parents were from (western samoa) but twins were born in american samoa, raised in new zealand but now live in the US (as US nationals because of their american samoa status)..

          • October 24th 2012 @ 5:55am
            James said | October 24th 2012 @ 5:55am | ! Report

            what planet are you on?

            Since when did we boast about ‘owning’or becoming the masters of the pacific islands?. How do you own them when the nz govt has had a long history of open door immigration policies to the pacific.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 10:25am
          JohnB said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          NZ troops occupied the then German colony of Samoa in the early days of WW1, just as Australian troops occupied the then German colony of New Guinea at the same time (the southern part of what is now PNG was already a British protectorate). After WWI, Samoa became a NZ protectorate and PNG an Australian one. Whether there would have been rugby in Samoa without that history I have no idea, but it does explain names like Schuster popping up. Totally irrelevant to rugby, various other Pacific islands that had been German went to Japan at the same time, with consequences a couple of decades later.

          • Roar Pro

            October 24th 2012 @ 11:19am
            Terry Tavita said | October 24th 2012 @ 11:19am | ! Report

            schuster, schwalger, schmidt, lobendahn, schaffhauzen, kronfeld, netzler, keil, wendt, wulf, kebauer, westerlund,kruse, retzlaff, schultz, von reiche, etc..they litter samoa’s phone directory and are relics of samoa’s german history..samoa even had a nazi branch during hitler’s reign..

            • October 24th 2012 @ 2:36pm
              richard said | October 24th 2012 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

              Terry, my mother went to school in W. Samoa in the 1950’s. She regularly mentioned the Schaffhauzens, a family of real of blonde,blue eyed Germans. If memory serves correctly, they had a daughter named Maria ( or Marina?) who really looked like your teutonic goddess.

              Could you expand on this?

              • Roar Pro

                October 25th 2012 @ 9:37am
                Terry Tavita said | October 25th 2012 @ 9:37am | ! Report

                marina shaffhauzen is the matriach of samoan rugby..she and laauli alan grey (of aggie grey’s hotel fame) funded manu samoa from their own pockets when samoa had no money..

      • October 24th 2012 @ 6:19am
        richard said | October 24th 2012 @ 6:19am | ! Report

        Of couse, oz is doing it out of the goodness of its heart. They are nzers, and with few exceptions are born, bred and developed in nz. What nz doesn’t do is wait until other countries have developed their talent, and then poach the finished product i.e Aus. and England. If these islanders are born there, and come through your systems, then fine, we wouldn’t have a problem with it.Also, using super rugby to poach nz talent ( Jason Woodward and Nasi Manu are the latest to be signed up by oz sides) with the intention of them being available for the wb’s is poaching by stealth.

        The bottom line is Hanson replied to a loaded question by one of your smarmy reporters, and got a reply that he, and it would seem, the oz rugby fraternity didn’t like hearing.The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

        To Spiro’s comment that Fisher believed that nz and oz would suffer in this pro age, that isn’t true, the only country suffering is nz, who are now basically the nursery of world rugby.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 10:39am
          Funk said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:39am | ! Report

          he’s been mentioned before….Steve Devine? Aust U21s, Aus 7s.

    • October 24th 2012 @ 5:10am
      Kane said | October 24th 2012 @ 5:10am | ! Report

      Well we did used to own Samoa, why do you think so many of they got unrestrictive entry into New Zealand?

      Also in over 100 years of All Back tests, out of the 1116 All Blacks, only 25 were born in the Pacific Islands.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 5:32am
        defunkt said | October 24th 2012 @ 5:32am | ! Report

        Don’t bother bringing hard facts to this discussion, if it doesn’t suit their desired position they’ll just pretend the ‘inconvenient truth’ isn’t so.

      • October 24th 2012 @ 7:09am
        Red Kev said | October 24th 2012 @ 7:09am | ! Report

        And Australia had governance of Papua New Guinea for many many years but that doesn’t stop idiot kiwi’s dragging Will Genia’s country of birth into this discussion.

        • October 24th 2012 @ 10:18am
          Jutsie said | October 24th 2012 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          Or stop all of us bagging england whenever they select sth african, nz or aus born players for the national cricket or rugby teams. After all we were all once or are still “owned” by them.

          • October 24th 2012 @ 12:33pm
            Funk said | October 24th 2012 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

            Stop bagging England!…..no chance, it’s just not how I was brought up!

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