When is an Aussie really an Aussie?

sheek Roar Guru

By sheek, sheek is a Roar Guru

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    Fijian Nemani Nadolo is a star for Fiji. (Photo: AFP)

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    Ben Ryan, the English coach of the Fijian rugby sevens gold medal winning team at the Rio Olympics, caused quite a stir recently with his caustic observations of how the Pacific Islands were being effectively ‘stripped’ by the major rugby union powers.

    Indeed, much the same scenario is being played out in the sister code of rugby league.

    According to Ryan, “Fiji, Samoa and Tonga produce some prodigious natural rugby talent but the Pacific Islands are being drained of even teenage potential stars by unscrupulous agents.”

    “Pacific Islanders get offered contracts to play in New Zealand but only on condition they are eligible to play for the All Blacks. Australia is the same [with regards to the Wallabies],” he continued.

    “In ten years time, if things don’t change, I see an Australian side with half their team coming from the Islands.”

    It’s provocative stuff from Ryan, and I happen to agree with his comments.

    For some time now I’ve been wondering, and this applies as much to the Kangaroos as to the Wallabies, when is an Aussie really an Aussie?

    Is it when:

    1. An Islander decides his professional rugby future lies in either New Zealand or Australia because World Rugby have abandoned the island nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga for having nothing of material value to offer other than their natural athletic talent?

    2. An Islander decides he is either a Kiwi or Aussie when told he can have a professional rugby contract only if he commits himself to either being available for the All Blacks or Wallabies?

    3. An Islander decides it’s much easier to become a Wallaby than an All Black, so the Islanders start migrating to Australia, purely for rugby purposes?

    Is this fair? To anybody?

    How can it be fair to Australia and the Wallabies, when its jersey is devalued as the team is filled increasingly by players for whom the Wallabies is only their second choice, or perhaps third choice of opportunity, but the best available to them.

    How does this translate in the final ten minutes of a critical Test match when the next score either way will win or lose the Test? It is at that moment when people realise just how important their country is to them, and its values.

    But if players representing the Wallabies still see themselves firstly as Fijian, or Samoan, or Tongan, or even Maori, how can they possibly give their absolute best when the chips are down?

    Tatafu Polota-Nau (Wallabies) and Petero Civoniceva (Kangaroos) represent two Aussies of Tongan and Fijian heritage respectively who have given their all in the gold Wallaby jumper and green Kangaroo jumper.

    But I do wonder about the commitment of a whole host of recent ‘Johnny-come-latelys’ filtering through both the Wallabies and Kangaroos, and their commitment to Australia and being Australian.

    It’s difficult to name names, or know anything for sure anymore. There are Islanders born here in Australia and are technically Australian, but some feel more connected to their heritage than place of birth.

    So when is an Aussie really an Aussie?

    The time may not be too far away when the ARU will be required to add four hoops or bands to the gold jersey, either on the sleeves or below the ribcage of the jersey.

    The four hoops/bands will be black, white, blue and red.

    The black will represent Pakehas (whites) and Maoris not good enough to make the All Blacks, which is usually the only reason they would cross the Tasman Sea.

    The white (Fiji), blue (Samoa) and red (Tonga) will represent the Pacific Islanders who have forsaken their native lands to chase the professional rugby contract in Australia.

    What can be done to make the system fairer for everyone?

    Firstly, I would expand the Rugby Championship to include a Pacific Islands team. This would then increase the RC nations from four to five.

    The PI would contain the best players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. In effect they would be the West Indies of rugby.

    Yes, it’s not a new concept, having already been tried more than a decade ago. But it’s one worth persevering with. Give Pacific Islanders back to the Pacific Islands.

    A discussion would need to be held on where the PI would base themselves for home games. Suva (Fiji) could host one game each year being the largest centre. While Apia (Samoa) and Nuku’alofa (Tonga) could share the other venue in alternate years.

    Or, if more cost-effective, home games could be played out of Auckland (NZ) and Brisbane (Australia) respectively.

    Structurally, the Rugby Championships would see each nation play four internationals each, two at home and two away.

    At Super Rugby level Fiji, Samoa and Tonga would become provincial teams. They can still compete for the rugby World Cup and Olympics as separate entities, but come together for the purpose of the Rugby Championship.

    From a practical viewpoint, this is how it must be.

    So instead of SANZAAR talking about expanding into Asia and North America, they must make a genuine effort to look after the Islanders, who contribute so much outstanding rugby talent to rugby.

    Super Rugby would then comprise say 20 teams made up of five each from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, two from Argentina and the three Pacific Island nations.

    South Africa needs to give up its fantasy of a competitive Port Elizabeth-based Southern or Eastern Cape team populated predominately by non-whites. Send these talented players to the other franchises.

    Australia and New Zealand must provide professional contract spaces for Islanders committed to representing their Island nations. They should not be penalised for this.

    Australia and New Zealand are entitled to feel that if they invest time and opportunity on Island players, they are entitled to first refusal.

    But the welfare of the game as a whole ought to be placed before the personal ambitions of Australia and New Zealand. Or Japan, England or France for that matter.

    Besides, what’s the point, or the long-term gain, of filling your Test team with players who see your country as only a second best, or third best opportunity?

    International rugby is suffering because people involved in the game are unwilling and perhaps morally incapable of standing up and doing the right thing, for upholding integrity.

    A former rugby lock, cricket no.11 bat and no.10 bowler, and surfboat rower. A fan of the major team sports in Australia.

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    The Crowd Says (161)

    • October 6th 2016 @ 10:04am
      redbull said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      Sheek, I don’t know that the island nations would be happy to see a team carrying their name devalued to a super rugby franchise. Would it be smarter to do it the other way around and have a “west indies” style pacific super rugby side and then a promotion-relegation to the rugby championship.

      An immediate fix would be to allow pacific island players to play on australian and new zealand super rugby teams without affecting their right to play for their home at international level.

      • Roar Guru

        October 6th 2016 @ 12:04pm
        sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:04pm | ! Report


        This is a compromise solution I know. Playing all three of fiji, Samoa & tonga in the Rugby Championship would seem impractical & ahem, financially fraught, which of course, is the problem faced by the Islands in the first place.

        Combining them into a Pacific Islands gives them some leverage to offer.

        Your last para is a direction I would like to see the game take. Obviously, each franchise would be restricted to a quota of say 8. So that means 10 franchises x 8 Islanders equals 80 positions.

        I think that’s generous. Enough for almost a 26-27 man squad for each Island nation.

        • October 6th 2016 @ 5:36pm
          BrainsTrust said | October 6th 2016 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

          Super rugby would be much better off with the Pacific Islands.The Japanese team is going to be a lot better off playing them with flight times. the three Pacific islands are close to each other. .Economics is funny issue , the costs in the Pacific islands and cost of players is low, the only problem is that they wouldn;t generate TV revenue, they could do very well with a smaller share of the TV pot. Less players are going to leave if they can continue to live in the Pacific Islands. Local Samoan and Tonga teams would be easy beats and would not make the finals given Japan some confidence. The problem with Super rugby is the current craziness with Japan and Argentine teams travelling so far. The PAcific islands would solve the Japan problem at least.
          Rugby needs to have proper eligibility rules with a long enough time period so that players cannot be stolen so easily. Five years residence would be appropriate.All the other good rugby nations actually receive a big cut of the world cup nations, the Pacific Islands however have the same number split between all of them and there are other Pacific nations as well.
          I dom;t see any need for the Pacific islands to have national teams in the rugby championship because they have so many players overseas that would be more expensive, if they had a team of their locals in super rugby it would be more helpful to them than anything else.

          • October 6th 2016 @ 8:13pm
            Bakkies said | October 6th 2016 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

            Well who is going to fund the team and hosting arrangements? The ABs test in Samoa was a significant loss maker.

            • October 6th 2016 @ 9:36pm
              BrainsTrust said | October 6th 2016 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

              In what way was it a loss maker?
              What were the actual expenses?
              Answer paying the big expenses of the free loading All Blacks to travel over there and stay in luxury hotels with their massive entourage of support staff.
              So in Super rugby yoiu would expect the local Samoan team to travel and stay in cheap hotels.
              You would not be bringing over the Samoa New Zealanders they would have to be all locals.
              That would leave just the travel expenses and Fiji Airways would provide that for the Pacific Island teams.
              Of course the other super rugby teams would have to pay their way to go there, and their accomodation unlike the All Blacks.

              • October 6th 2016 @ 10:35pm
                Mark said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:35pm | ! Report

                LOL if you think the All Blacks have a massive entourage, you have never watched a British Lions tour. When they last visited NZ in 2005 the Lions had so many coaching advisors, assistants to the many coaches, dieticians, masseurs, sports physiologists and media advisors that they booked out the largest hotel on the Auckland waterfront.
                When they played NZ Maori in Rotorua they deemed that none of the Roto-vegas hotels were flash enough for them, so they bused down from Auckland on the morning of the match in a fleet of luxury coaches. Of course the Lions lost to a NZ Maori team thrown together with two training runs and one coach.

    • October 6th 2016 @ 10:09am
      Boz the Younger said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:09am | ! Report

      The solution is obviously for those Aussies who are born here to pick up their game and out compete the islanders for selection.

      Other than that the article is in pretty poor taste, I doubt we will get a similar degree of angst about the White South Africans and Zimbabweans who will continue to migrate here. Very few of those Wallabies with Pasifika heritage came here as adults and those who came as kids no different to the several overseas born white players, including the captain. I don’t even know why TPN is mentioned, he was born here. Why is he framed as an Islander who gave his all for Australia, when he is as skip as Paul Hogan?

      From all the lands on Earth we come.

      • October 6th 2016 @ 10:52am
        john said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        That TPN comment really got me too. A guy born and raised in Australia isn’t an “Aussie” because he isn’t the white Anglo-Irish?

        This isn’t the first time Sheek has raised comments like this and frankly it reflects poorly on him and his world view. The Australia of the 1950s is gone, and we’re better for it. The author is just confused and scared.

        • Roar Guru

          October 6th 2016 @ 11:32am
          PeterK said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:32am | ! Report

          John and Boz the Younger – you have misrepresented the statement about TPN.

          Tatafu Polota-Nau (Wallabies) and Petero Civoniceva (Kangaroos) represent two Aussies of Tongan and Fijian heritage respectively who have given their all in the gold Wallaby jumper and green Kangaroo jumper.

          First of all sheek clearly states that TPN is an aussie.
          Furthermore he states he has given his all for the jersey.

          He then goes on about questioning the johney come latleys. About would they give their all.

          Clearly TPN is not one of those he questions or question whether he is australian.

          I too question why the article does not mention white immigrants.
          That is a different issue.

          This country is built on immigration. I have no issue with people who come over at a young age and grow up here regardless of where they are from nor if they retain affiliations / cultural ties to where they were born.

          The real issue are the mercenaries who aim for the wallaby jersey despite no attachment or allegiance to the country it represents, i.e they do it for the money.

          If being a professional rugby player is just another job then there is no issue, if at test level it is still about the country of the jersey it may be an issue.

          • Roar Guru

            October 6th 2016 @ 11:41am
            Ralph said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:41am | ! Report

            “This country is built on immigration.”

            Well, quite. There are no “native” people of New Zealand at all, in the sense that in the beginning there were only birds here and originally everyone’s ancestors arrived from somewhere else.

            • October 7th 2016 @ 1:00pm
              P2R2 said | October 7th 2016 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              but whose ancestors arrived in NZ first??? or are you trying to say something else???

          • October 6th 2016 @ 11:48am
            Boz the Younger said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            PeterK, the point that Sheek is only singling out Pacifika players while ignoring white immigrant players, while using TPN as an example of an islander who is “doing the right thing” is related and is 100% the point. If you want to close your eyes to that then good for you.

            Personally I am not worried about the very few “mercenaries” who are being bought in, if they are better than “Aussie” players and qualify to play for the Wallabies then they should be in the team. Otherwise we are effectively applying a quota for “Aussies” and risk making it a sheltered workshop for second-rate white footballers, that sounds worse than any of the alternatives to me.

            And it isn’t like the “mercenaries” couldn’t get more money in Europe or Japan if they wanted to, so the suggestion that their heart wouldn’t be in it sounds like nonsense to me. It is more likely that they want to test themselves at the highest level of their sport with a Tier 1 nation and that is the way it should be, the cream should be allowed to rise to the top.

            • Roar Guru

              October 6th 2016 @ 11:57am
              PeterK said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              agree totally

              • October 6th 2016 @ 12:04pm
                Boz the Younger said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                Excellent, there is a first for everything it seems 😉

              • Roar Guru

                October 6th 2016 @ 12:08pm
                PeterK said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

                true you rarely make complete sense 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              October 6th 2016 @ 12:23pm
              sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

              Yeah well Boz,

              Zimbabwean David Pocock’s situation is somewhat different. Had not a certain person totally stuffed up his country, he might have remained there. His family came to Australia for reasons other than rugby.

              • October 6th 2016 @ 12:29pm
                Boz the Younger said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                Haylett-Petty was born in South Africa, Stephen Moore was born in Saudi Arabia to Irish parents, Dean Mumm was born in New Zealand and so was Mike Harris who came out of the ITM Cup to play for the Reds and into a Wallabies jersey. Yet not a mention of any of them. Why?

              • Roar Guru

                October 6th 2016 @ 1:48pm
                The Bush said | October 6th 2016 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

                Out of interest, who are the present “mercenaries” from the Islands playing for the Wallabies? Henry Speight is about the only one I can think of. There’s probably one or two others I suppose. Not exactly a flood.

                Ryan seems a little confused, at a recent world cup in New Zealand the Samoan team was made up of Kiwis!

              • October 6th 2016 @ 3:27pm
                Akari said | October 6th 2016 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

                Was former WBs Dan Vickerman a mercenary? Was he ever committed to the gold jersey when they needed to win in that last 10 minutes. I’d say no to the first and an emphatic yes to the 2nd. I agree with the points you outlined above, Boz.

                I don’t really care where players came from as long as they are the best in their area and I get to see them strut their stuff either at super rugby or on the international stage.

              • October 6th 2016 @ 9:11pm
                Bakkies said | October 6th 2016 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

                Henry Speight couldn’t get a Super Rugby contract in NZ and was tapped up by Leilliifano when he was playing for Waikato in the NPC. He went to Australia to play a higher level of Rugby and I believe he is now an Aus citizen

              • October 6th 2016 @ 9:41pm
                CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

                @ Boz the Younger :

                am 100% sure Moore was born in Saudi becoz his parents were working there.

                else there is no reason in hell literally , for a westerner to live in that country ( other than for work) !!!

                even Muslims visit Saudi for Umrah or Hadj – they are not queuing to go there for say a vacation or as a tourist 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              October 6th 2016 @ 1:27pm
              sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 1:27pm | ! Report


              You need to read my article several times over until you really understand where I’m coming from.

        • Roar Guru

          October 6th 2016 @ 12:05pm
          sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:05pm | ! Report


          Clearly, you don’t understand my comment. TPN is a dinky-di Aussie. I went out of my way to make that clear.

          • October 6th 2016 @ 5:45pm
            Timbo said | October 6th 2016 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

            I don’t know why people seem to be struggling with what Sheek is saying. It may be sensitive, but it seems fairly obvious to me. It is impossible to get inside someone’s head and heart and be sure what they ‘feel’, but you can make some reasonable points based on probability. I would suggest the higher the proportion of players in a national side who have appeared there by chance, perhaps purely on a 3 year residency period with no heritage or other connection to the country, the more likely it is to find one or two with little emotional attachment to the shirt. Does this matter? It could be argued that providing they are a model professional who give their all it shouldn’t matter. As a fan though I like the players in my national team (as opposed to club or province) to have an emotional feeling about the shirt and the country. Now there might be born and bred players who don’t feel that emotion, and ‘3 year residency’ players who burst into tears when they hear the national anthem, but we’re talking about probability here over a large player cohort.

            As an example, England have just selected Nathan Hughes for their latest squad. He is eligible purely on the grounds he’s just completed 3 years of residency. I don’t know Nathan, and he may have harboured a life-long dream to play for England, but I doubt it. He’s a Fijian who played for Auckland. In 2013 he was approached by Wasps with the offer of a contract. Presumably, if a better offer had come from the Waratahs; Toulon; or Munster he would be lining up this year in either a Wallaby, French, or Irish shirt. He’s done absolutely nothing wrong and by all accounts is a great professional. But, if he lines up at Twickenham this year, will he feel the same emotion as I would (assuming I was 30 years younger; 20kgs lighter, and had some talent)?

            What happens if there are 10 Nathan Hughes’s in the side? Some might feel emotionally attached; some won’t but will give their all; it becomes increasingly probable, though, that one or two will simply see it as no different to a paid club gig. As a national rugby fan that worries me. I think it has the potential to change the flavour of international rugby.

          • October 7th 2016 @ 1:08pm
            P2R2 said | October 7th 2016 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

            Sheek you write about an interesting topic – who is dinkydi – I will take your statement that TPN is a dinky-di Australian, he was born there after all. But extrapolating your theory, what were Fred Hollows, Jo Bjelke-Petersen, Phar Lap, Crowded House et al – all claimed to be dinky-di Australians – yes? I guess it is moot debating this, I guess in the end it is where their LOYALTY lie….what I think needs to be enshrined in Rugby is the notion that you CANNOT play for another country that you were not born in – a la Soccer – it would then stop all of this nonsense of residency, grand-parenting, or great-grandparenting or spousal connections. You can only play for the country you were born in – there are lots of opportunities for players to ply their trade in the Super, Aviva, Pro-12, French-14 etc etc and end up being like soccer/football players earning their living overseas but only eligible to represent their country of birth..

        • October 6th 2016 @ 1:35pm
          Perthstayer said | October 6th 2016 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          John – whenever someone has the guts to mention this issue they have their comments dissected in search for an opportunity to draw the racist card. The only way this issue can be addressed by someone to not be accused of racism is if they are of PI origin, ridiculous.

          What I believe is irrefutable is that the non-Pacific Islands gains are coming at the Pacific Islands loss.

          This is an elephant in the room issue but the nations around the world with the power to change it are those very same nations benefiting from the current set up.

          Playing for PI must be made to look more attractive in order for players to stay. The biggest reason is $$, address this and other reasons will fall in line.

          This needs investment and a shed load of patience, maybe 5 to 10 years strategic plan. But there must be consensus beforehand that there is an issue that needs addressing.

          Yes, funds would be needed, but they are out there. IRU, SR, home internationals, sponsorship, an ASEAN Cup, and inter PI cup etc.

          Build it and they will come.

          • October 6th 2016 @ 7:58pm
            Boz the Younger said | October 6th 2016 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

            Perthstayer, if the original article was just written from Ryan’s perspective of the Pacific nation losing their best players, nobody would have cause to suspect ulterior motives. However, the ridiculous suggestion that players with island heritage may not play as well, even if they were born here, because of divided loyalties tells us otherwise. Throw in a reference to Robert Mugabe and a whinge about predominantly non-white South African franchises and you have the markers of somebody who needs to rethink their life.

            • Roar Guru

              October 6th 2016 @ 8:28pm
              sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

              Ha, ha Boz,

              Once again you cherry-pick my comments.

              As for Robert Mugabe, I don’t care what colour he is, he is a disgrace.

              You’re obviously looking for a fight, & i don’t care for it.

              If you can’t, or won’t understand what I’m saying, then the problem is yours.

            • October 7th 2016 @ 12:17am
              Boz the Younger said | October 7th 2016 @ 12:17am | ! Report

              All I can say is quack quack.

          • Roar Rookie

            October 7th 2016 @ 12:39pm
            Kirky said | October 7th 2016 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

            Giving money to the Islands for development of rugby and Administration doesn’t work as there’s been a heap of money passed on to them one way or another over the years and they blow it on everything else but rugby, they just can’t handle those big bucks.

            There was a fair amount of the ‘folding stuff’ passed on not too long ago to one of the Island Nations (without looking it up, I’m unsure as to which Island Nation it was so I won’t name any one, for fear of putting the wrong one up), not that long ago for the betterment as a whole of the rugby scene and, nothing became of that money and no one was held accountable. so it’s obvious that because of very poor Administration etc that the handling of large sums of money is not priority based therefore it’s unlikely any more cash one way or another will be ”handed over” again unless outside Administration takes place.

            The Tongan and to a slightly lesser degree the Samoan rugby teams are predominantly New Zealand born and therefore they have an option of ‘either or’!

            The majority of our Island brothers of the rugby variety prefer to affiliate themselves one way or another with the New Zealand rugby scene because if they show any ability at all they’ll get looked at by those who matter.

            That’s why there is an abundance of Fijian players of quality who make the All Blacks and have done for a number of years as they like the majority of the talented rugby playing Island Brothers particularly have a distinct preference of possibly playing for the All Blacks so they head to New Zealand where some make it and the rest either play for the Provincial sides or head to Australia or the UK as a last alternative.

            The Tongan and Samoan boys in almost every case don’t have any problems as the great percentage are New Zealand born so they either go for the top and make the Train On Squad for the All Blacks, or play for any other rugby Province or Franchise they get picked up by.

            The majority of those who don’t do any good in New Zealand invariably end up in Australia and to a lesser extent the UK, that’s the way it is.

            Also the New Zealand ex pats who ply their wares here in Australia are the ones that have tried and have proved themselves to be not that good in the rugby ability stakes in their home Country, but for whatever reason the Aussies’ welcome them in most cases with open arms which, whatever way you look at it at least they’re getting a game.

            But by far the majority who haven’t and never would have done any good in the general Representative rugby scene in New Zealand, head to Australia, ~ they are the ones who are predominant in the Wallabies squad or any of the Super rugby Franchises, even the new NRC is chock full of Kiwis, Samoan and Tongan rugby boys who aspire to do well where they in pretty much every case would never ‘make it’ in New Zealand.
            There are players in the Wallaby team who are New Zealanders born who couldn’t even make a decent Provincial team in their home country, that’s why they are in Aussie’!

            • October 7th 2016 @ 4:59pm
              Boz the Younger said | October 7th 2016 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              “There are players in the Wallaby team who are New Zealanders born who couldn’t even make a decent Provincial team in their home country, that’s why they are in Aussie’”

              Mate, there isn’t a single New Zealand born Wallaby in the current squad who didn’t play schoolboy rugby in Australia. They came here with their parents for a better life, just like so many of us did, rugby had absolutely nothing to do with it. In fact the only New Zealand senior player who I can think of who played for the Wallabies in recent times was Mike Harris, and he played well enough in the 2012 Brisbane Bledisloe draw, that Steve Hanson had a whinge about Australia “stealing” potential All Blacks.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 7th 2016 @ 10:11pm
                Kirky said | October 7th 2016 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

                And what the hell has Schoolboy rugby got to do with it?

                Mike Harris couldn’t get a game in any Super team so he came over here and was an immediate Wallaby.

                Don’t know about Dean Mumm, but he certainly wouldn’t get a game either, neither would Skelton, or Quade.! ~there’s possibly more but I can’t be bothered going into it.

                The Super Franchises in OZ. and the NRC are full of Kiwis and good on them as they wouldn’t or can’t get a game where it matters! So Here they all are.

                I like you bit about coming here to OZ for a better life, how do you opine that mate,?~ fill us in as you seem to know something that a lot of us don’t on the matter!

                Incidentally mate is there any post on here not written by yourself that you ever agree with? just wondering!

              • October 8th 2016 @ 1:46pm
                Boz the Younger said | October 8th 2016 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                “And what the hell has Schoolboy rugby got to do with it?”

                Everything. You suggested that these players are coming to Australia primarily to play rugby because they were not good enough for NZ rugby, when in fact they came over for completely unrelated reasons as kids. The entire premise of your argument was wrong for most New Zealand born Wallabies.

              • October 7th 2016 @ 11:15pm
                Jerry said | October 7th 2016 @ 11:15pm | ! Report

                ‘the only New Zealand senior player who I can think of who played for the Wallabies’

                by any rational definition, both sekope kepu and toby smith are nz players.

              • October 8th 2016 @ 1:49pm
                Boz the Younger said | October 8th 2016 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

                I’ll give you Smith but Kepu certainly doesn’t fit into Kirkies definitely, primarily because he is the best tight head in the World and would probably have made the All Blacks if he had stayed in NZ.

    • October 6th 2016 @ 10:17am
      zer0 said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Unless there’s a change I’m unaware of, payers from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are already exempt from the NZRU regulation on international/non-NZ qualified players. In other words, NZ does provide professional contracts for Fijians, Samoans and Tongans wanting to play for their respective country.

      Fewer and fewer do so, however, because the club salaries in places such as France, Japan and England are significantly greater than the franchise contracts in NZ.

      • October 6th 2016 @ 10:40am
        rebel said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        Agree Zero, again more unfounded accusations which have been going on for decades.
        As for Ryan’s quote “Pacific Islanders get offered contracts to play in New Zealand but only on condition they are eligible to play for the All Blacks. Australia is the same [with regards to the Wallabies],” does he have any evidence of this as it seems dubious based on actual events. Look at Tongan Thor, did he have a contract that said he could attend a NZ school if he dedicated his allegiance to Australia?
        Yes I really do want to see the PI nations prosper and have suggested ways for this to occur in the past, however a lot of people really need to educate themselves more before flinging the mud.

        • October 6th 2016 @ 3:28pm
          Akari said | October 6th 2016 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

          Agreed, rebel.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 6th 2016 @ 6:52pm
        Shane D said | October 6th 2016 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

        Zer0, the contracts for a non-NZ eligible player are lower than a NZ player. The NZRU doesn’t boost their contracts which is understandable.
        As an example when Kahn Fotuali’i declared his allegiance lay with Samoa his contract offer from the crusaders for the next season was substantially lower than his previous contract. That prompted his move to the U.K.

    • October 6th 2016 @ 10:30am
      taylorman said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:30am | ! Report

      Geez Ben, an Englishmen moaning about the poaching of players!. Have a look out your own back window Ben, and its not just PI’s out there either.

      • October 6th 2016 @ 2:23pm
        peeeko said | October 6th 2016 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

        true, the british teams are full of jonny come latelys from the southern hemisphere mainly due to the silly grand parent rule

      • October 6th 2016 @ 4:47pm
        Timbo said | October 6th 2016 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        Actually, TM, ‘England’, if by that you mean the national team set-up run by the RFU, don’t ‘poach’. Not because of any ‘moral superiority’ but just the structure of the game. England don’t have central contracts so they can’t go out and recruit. The clubs recruit and have to abide by UK immigration law, salary caps and, I think, there are restrictions set by the Aviva Premiership on percentages of home grown players each squad must have.

        Once a year the England coach sits down and picks a 45 player Elite Player Squad. He’s told that he can pick who he likes providing they meet the eligibility rules for World Rugby and are playing in the Aviva Premiership. I don’t know what other instructions he should be given. Personally, I have a problem with the World Rugby rules relating to residency. I’d double it to six years.

        Interestingly, if that was in place none of last year’s England squad would have fallen foul of it. All the players concerned had either lived in England since they were kids and/or had parents who were English. This year there are two players I have a slight problem with. The main one is Nathan Hughes. He only qualifies by 3 year residency. He could be a long-term addition to the England squad and I just don’t think 3 years in England should allow him to play. Nothing against the bloke. The other is a Zimbabwean, Mike Williams, who is only in the squad because of an injury crisis, but the same principle applies.

        If the residency rules were doubled to, say, 6 years, I don’t think England would put up a fight because the vast majority of their players would not be affected. For countries like Ireland, Italy, Wales, Scotland, France, Japan, and Australia, however, there would be a bigger impact so you might get some resistance.

        We need to sensibly differentiate. I don’t see how anyone could have a problem with someone like Kaino or Moore. Similarly, there’s a lad called Clifford in the England squad (injured at the moment) who was born in Australia. Both his parents are English, and they were working temporarily in Oz when he was born, and relocated back to England when he was a very small child. He was born in Oz, but is no more an Aussie than I am. It can’t be difficult to devise rules that sensibly differentiate between him and someone like Hughes.

      • October 6th 2016 @ 4:47pm
        CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        @ taylorman :

        people are missing the point.

        BEN RYAN decided to quit being FIJI coach. now he needs to be in the news, else no claim to fame.

        so he comes up with some spicy comments that would grab the headlines.

        the real problem in FIJI was that the players were not being paid well ( and not at all for some time due to the issues the governing body had with world rugby ).

        so most of them opted to go elsewhere, be it NZ , OZ or Europe and even Asia (mainly Europe). Players as young as 16 were migrating for a good payout.

        • October 6th 2016 @ 7:08pm
          Perthstayer said | October 6th 2016 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

          CUW – Ryan just coached Fiji to their first ever Olympics gold. Their achievement probably cemented 7’s at the next Games.

          Do you really believe he’s fishing about for reasons to stay relevant by making up “controversial” comments?

          • October 6th 2016 @ 8:27pm
            CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

            i know what he did and he was gifted land in fiji for that.

            but how many people talk about him now? part of the problem is depite the beauty of 7S , only very few people watch it.

            if u doubt me, read around here to see how many say 7S is not rugger 🙂

            • October 7th 2016 @ 8:38am
              Neil Back said | October 7th 2016 @ 8:38am | ! Report

              Ben Ryan is making these observations in a desperate attempt to stay in the headlines?

              That has to be the dullest conclusion I’ve ever read on here – and there’s serious competition for that honour. Seriously mate, there’s no doubting which orifice you pulled that one out of. Incredible.

      • October 6th 2016 @ 6:09pm
        Tigranes said | October 6th 2016 @ 6:09pm | ! Report


        I think Ryan was given Fijian citizenship so he’s technally a dual British-Fijian citizen

      • October 7th 2016 @ 8:42am
        Neil Back said | October 7th 2016 @ 8:42am | ! Report

        This is so not the point it’s not funny. You pride yourself on your quick intelligent barbs. Oh dear.

    • October 6th 2016 @ 10:36am
      Reality said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      In fairness, if you read Bens comments you’ll see he’s pointing the finger at French rugby mostly. Sheek has taken out the bits more applicable to Australia.

      Nine Fijian-born or Fijian-capped players in England’s Premiership;
      Six in the Pro12, featuring teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales;
      Thirteen in the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby competition;
      And 35 in France’s Top 14.

      • Roar Guru

        October 6th 2016 @ 12:20pm
        sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

        Thanks Reality,

        I was trying to keep as much of Ryan’s comments applicable only to Australia. He has more to say about the situation in England & France.

      • October 6th 2016 @ 4:56pm
        CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

        @ sheek :

        these discussions are silly in the current context where MIGRANTS are a world issue. at least whoever goes abroad from FIJI ( or tonga or samoa or newguinea or papua or cook island or where ever) is doing it legally.

        labor migration is a normal occurrence – there is no LAW against it. Australia encourages it through its points based system. England encourages it even without such a system. Maybe Ryan does not know that since BREXIT, more people are applying to migrate to NZ from England ( according to reports in BBC there was a 100% increase in the number of applicants).

        as i said above, he is not addressing the crux of the matter. FIJIAN players were not being paid well ( and not at all for some time due to the issues the governing body had with world rugby ).

        so most of them opted to go elsewhere, be it NZ , OZ or Europe and even Asia (mainly Europe). Players as young as 16 were migrating for a good payout.

        i remember one case very well. Famos 2nd rower LEONE NAKARAWA was selected for the Fiji 7S team but he could not come becoz he was playing in SRI LANKA.

        at the time he was being paid $ 25 k for 3 months by the Navy Rugby Club ( which was being funded by the President’s sons which was another story alltogether). he would have gor $ 5000 playing for the Fiji 7s, so u know what he opted for. Ryan was livid.

        • October 6th 2016 @ 6:04pm
          Timbo said | October 6th 2016 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

          ‘Maybe Ryan does not know that since BREXIT, more people are applying to migrate to NZ from England ( according to reports in BBC there was a 100% increase in the number of applicants).’

          Take that with a pinch of salt, CUW. The BBC was a rabidly ‘Remain’ voice in the referendum debate and is just having a hissy fit.

          Anyway, anyone who tries to move 12,000 miles from Europe because of a referendum decision they fear will…………………loosen their ties to Europe, would probably fail to meet the educational standards for gaining a visa.

          • October 6th 2016 @ 7:05pm
            Bakkies said | October 6th 2016 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

            Pulling out of the EU has the potential to ruin a lot of opportunities for young Brits. The Baby Boomers who voted for the Leave campaign have screwed them over

            • October 6th 2016 @ 9:26pm
              Bakkies said | October 6th 2016 @ 9:26pm | ! Report


            • October 7th 2016 @ 9:05am
              Neil Back said | October 7th 2016 @ 9:05am | ! Report

              It also has the potential to massively improve them if you follow the return to free trade argument and what that has historically meant to countries throughout history; only one of the contradictions which means attempting to discuss this topic on a rugby blog is probably not a great idea.

              • October 7th 2016 @ 11:16am
                AussieKiwi said | October 7th 2016 @ 11:16am | ! Report

                Haha really? – too embarrassing, rather than too complex, if you are a pom. We know that the overwhelming majority of informed commentators think it an unmitigated disaster. Perhaps they are not qualified to comment either? Whereas Nigel Farage, the sophistication of his analysis is sublime……

          • October 6th 2016 @ 8:33pm
            CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

            BBC reported what someone had surveyed. which side they supported is irrelevant. BBC also reported the industries will suffer, which did not happen. they also reported some business will shift, which is happening.

            also , maybe u did notice the 3 million odd people who signed the petition to have a second vote AND Scotland who want to still remain and even want to have their own vote.

            NZ is one of the easier countries to move into , like Canada. It is much harder to get into Auzzy or USA for example.

            there was a time when people came to NZ , stayed for couple of years and then went to Auzzy without having to take the points test. that loophole has been closed now.

            being closer to europe counts for zilch as ur not going to have the advantages those in the union have. why do u think the pound dropped to a 3-year low against euro , when May told of the date to exit plans?

            maybe ur one of those who voted for the exit. 🙂

            • October 6th 2016 @ 9:27pm
              Bakkies said | October 6th 2016 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

              ‘BBC also reported the industries will suffer, which did not happen.’

              Too early to call on that one as no one knows the terms and conditions until the negotiations start after Teresa May pulls the Article 50 trigger next March. Italy are already pushing for Britain to be excluded from the common market which will eliminate free movement of people from the EU in to Britain. This will of course affect industry. The Welsh economy is dependent on the market within the EU but still voted to Leave.

              The fall of the pound of course affects exports.

              • October 6th 2016 @ 11:08pm
                CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

                my comment was about the current situation – BBC reported a 100% increase in people seeking to go to NZ , which is happening and BBC reported that industries will suffer, which has not happened yet.

                it was a clarification to TIMBO that what side BBC is on is irrelevant..

                BREXIT affects a lot of people who are not directly involved or in the country.

                our currency investments made a loss overnight , simply becoz MAY jumped the gun and gave specific dates !!!!

            • October 6th 2016 @ 11:35pm
              Timbo said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:35pm | ! Report

              CUW, I don’t want to be rude, but the Brexit debate is very complex, based on about 40 years of political entanglements and involves a range of issues. It’s certainly not something for a rugby blog and is a very difficult thing to fully understand from the other side of the world.

    • Roar Guru

      October 6th 2016 @ 10:37am
      Ralph said | October 6th 2016 @ 10:37am | ! Report

      The problems with these types of discussions are that they are quite emotive and messy. More emotion usually means less rational and messy in that people don’t define their terms of argument (the words they use). Particularly they say something like “So and so is Tongan” with saying whether they mean a Tongan citizen or of Tongan ethnic background.

      Some thoughts:

      A nation state is not a ethnicity. You are both a citizen of a nation and of from an ethnic background.

      Nobody anywhere owes anybody else a living. Sports organisations have no obligation to anyone beyond the commitments they make.

      Sports organisation are just a business like any other and operate under the same rules are all businesses. As such, they have very limited legal power to dictate to others how they may live.

      People all over the world move to where work is and any argument that sports organisations can change world demographic and sociological trends is highly optimistic at best. At worst delusional.

      In a free world it is pretty normal that those who make an investment in people are allowed to negotiate terms with people as to how they might recoup that investment.

      • October 6th 2016 @ 11:25am
        Bill said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        “But if players representing the Wallabies still see themselves firstly as Fijian, or Samoan, or Tongan, or even Maori, how can they possibly give their absolute best when the chips are down?”

        Because they are professional sportsmen, their monetary value is tied to their performances, and almost all want to win regardless of the jersey they wear.

        Does Lebron James play better for the Cleveland Cavaliers or the US men’s team? Does Ronaldo play better for Real Madrid or Portugal? Does Federer play better for himself or for Switzerland?

        Welcome to the reality of professional sports.

        • Roar Guru

          October 6th 2016 @ 12:07pm
          sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

          Bill – If only this was always so true.

      • Roar Guru

        October 6th 2016 @ 8:31pm
        sheek said | October 6th 2016 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

        Heck Ralph,

        I could be wrong here, but Japan is an ethnicity. So are many Arab states.So is most of china & India.

        It’s not a free world. People are manipulating it for their personal benefit all the time, while leaving the majority destitute.

        If you mean free world as in level playing field, forget it, it ain’t.

        • October 6th 2016 @ 9:00pm
          CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

          most Arab states are Arabians. though they call them selves Qatari Omani Emirati Kuwaiti Saudi , etc. they all consider themselves as arabs. or their ethnicity as arab. the distinctions and clans aer based more on religion and the sects.

          In Iran u find Persians. they are very particular and do not consider themselves arabians. when u visit Iran they take u to “old Arab settlements” and take great pains to explain they were invaders 🙂

          simillarly people in countries like Lebanon Turkey Morocco sometimes identify with arabs , but most prefer their own identity. same with the Palestine state. it is religion that brings them together but also divides them due to differences in beliefs.

          • October 6th 2016 @ 9:28pm
            Bakkies said | October 6th 2016 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

            Arab states have their own version of the EU called the Gulf Cooperation Council. You see those signs for GCC in immigration over there

            • October 6th 2016 @ 11:14pm
              CUW said | October 6th 2016 @ 11:14pm | ! Report

              I KNOW , i live and work in one. my boss attends their central banks’ meetings 🙂

              [ Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. theoretically Iran shud be a member as well, as a neighbor in the Persian Gulf , but pigs will fly before that happens LOL]

              but it is nothing like the EU. onlything is they travel freely. but even the motoring fines and rules vary from country to country.

              they cant agree on anything. they are bickering about VAT introduction at present.

              and are trying to have a uniform fiancail transaction procedure (for the last 5 f’ing years 🙂 )

              for eg. if u get a schengen visa , u can travel thru many countries. but there is no such system in GCC unless ur a native of the GCC. even for resident expatriates visa is given only if u meet a certain class of jobs. not everyone can travel among these countries.

              and going to saudi from these countries is more difficult than form another country.

        • Roar Guru

          October 7th 2016 @ 11:15am
          Ralph said | October 7th 2016 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          Freedom means freedom to and freedom from, a whole debate in itself. But it does not mean quality of outcome.

    , ,