Breaking the old New Zealand poaching myth

Zakaia Cvitanovich Roar Rookie

By Zakaia Cvitanovich, Zakaia Cvitanovich is a Roar Rookie

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    I’ve noticed a resurgence in the age-old ‘New Zealand poach players rhetoric’ once again. People are obviously going to have their own take on this, but claiming players, without knowing basic facts about them is madness!

    Here are some facts: Ethnicity and nationality are two different things. According to The Economist, “Nationality is acquired by birth or adoption, marriage, or descent”, which can vary from country to country. So in general terms, nationality refers to birthplace and/or citizenship held.

    For example, I have dual citizenship, one by birth and the other by descent, ergo I have two nationalities. On the other hand, ethnicity is “the term for the culture of people in a given geographic region, including their language, heritage, religion and customs”.

    Using myself as an example again, my father was English, my mother was of Serbian descent, so my ethnicity is Anglo-Serbian.

    Here’s where it gets tricky for some: my ethnicity doesn’t necessarily determine my nationality. I am not English, neither am I Serb. I am a New Zealander. Now, if I identified more with the nationality of my parents, this might be different. But I identify as a Kiwi because it’s where I was raised and learnt how to socialize which is important as it is when we inherit and disseminate society’s “norms, customs, and ideologies“.

    Basically, I am the person I am because of New Zealand.

    Let’s relate this to the All Blacks. There have been a total of 1160 All Blacks, from James Allen (number 1) to Ngani Laumape (number 1160). According to a 2014 article penned by Cleaver and Singh, “out of a total of 1132 ABs, only 33 were Pacific Islanders not born in NZ”.

    Unfortunately, “if your name sounds remotely Samoan, Tongan or Fijian, you must be from there”, according to many critics of New Zealand rugby.

    This which frustrates me. Just because a person has a name from somewhere else, doesn’t mean they are. Check out my name!

    I could list many players here, but I’m only going to list those I’ve seen as being recently heralded as players New Zealand has poached:

    Jonah Lomu: born in Auckland.
    Joe Rokocoko: born in Nadi and immigrated with his family to Auckland when he was five.
    Ma’a Nonu: born in Wellington.
    Jerome Kaino: born in American Samoa and immigrated with his family when he was four.
    Sonny Bill Williams: born in Auckland.
    Julian Savea: born in Wellington.

    Jerome Kaino New Zealand All Blacks Test Rugby Rugby Union 2016

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    If New Zealand Rugby can see potential in a four or five-year-old in order to poach them, then they should bottle that ability, sell it and try and make the cash needed to keep our players in New Zealand! A player who moved here at four or five years old because his parents emigrated isn’t poached! All his schooling has been in New Zealand and New Zealand is where he learnt rugby.

    So why shouldn’t he play for NZ? Even Augustin Pichot, World Rugby vice-chairman, agrees: “There are special cases where players moved when they were ten or 12 years old”.

    My reading of this is if a kid emigrates with their parents they are entitled to play for the country they emigrated to. Obviously, they shouldn’t be punished, later on, for a decision their parents made. Perhaps we should look at this dilemma from the player’s point of view.

    Bevan Cadwallader, coach development manager at Auckland rugby and selector for the New Zealand under-20s side, suggests that many Kiwi boys only have the option of the All Blacks and if they’re not good enough, that’s it, “whereas some of those boys who were born in New Zealand but have the ancestry to be able to play back in the islands or play in Europe” have extra opportunities available to them.

    Surely that’s a good thing for them and their families.

    New Zealand is a South Pacific nation and is home to many proud Pacifica people, many of whom have been here for decades. Unfortunately, the fact that Auckland is the largest Pacific city in the world doesn’t seem to resonate with some: “If you’re born in Manukau, you should be playing for your island nation, some scribes would appear to suggest”.

    As a colonised Pacific nation, we are multi-cultural. Most of us are fiercely proud of the ethnically diverse makeup of our country, and indeed, the All Blacks. That diversity strengths our team, of course, that’s the issue, isn’t it!

    Augustin Pichot believes “moving to a country, being taken from an academy, like they are doing in Tonga, and put into play, say, in an Ireland shirt” is wrong. Many put Malakai Fekitoa and Waisake Naholo in this category, but as both of these players attended high school in New Zealand (Wesley Collage and Wanganui City College respectively) according to Pichot’s prerequisites, they too, are okay. If only barely!

    Sonny Bill Williams New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/Dean Pemberton)

    However, I must say I agree that taking kids from the Islands and putting them straight into representative teams is wrong. But the continuing suggestion that New Zealand is the only country doing it, is incorrect.

    According to The Roar, “French rugby clubs are now actively recruiting impoverished Fijians of school age with the lure of professional careers in Europe”. For example, Brive and Clermont and Brive have “academies in Fiji in a bid to secure a steady stream of young talent”.

    I agree with The Roar when they suggest that “any agents or clubs found to be enticing children from the Pacific Islands under the age of 18 into signing agreements or professional contracts should be severely penalised” but I guess building fancy academies in the Islands is a way around this, unfortunately, ending with the same result.

    But, and this is a big but, why shouldn’t players from Pacific Islands have the same opportunities as those from countries like New Zealand? Should Pacific Islanders be relegated to the sidelines as mere spectators instead of moving abroad? Or should World Rugby do more to develop rugby in those nations?

    I think the latter.

    World Rugby needs to do more to help develop the game in the Pacific Islands. It’s not fair that the Island nations are giving so much to global rugby and receiving so little in return. At the very least players should be released to play for their national teams.

    But let’s not forget that many of the world’s unions are being supplemented by New Zealanders these days. Kiwis are coaching many Northern Hemisphere clubs and national teams, over and above those playing for them. The possibility of playing Test rugby for another nation is “difficult to ignore for players whose All Black’s prospects don’t look great“.

    Wayne Pivac, head coach of the Scarlets, asserts that Kiwis, seeing the likes of Jared Payne playing for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions makes them think, ‘Well if I can’t be an All Black, the next best thing is playing for another nation’.

    Waisake Naholo New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Union 2016

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    Although it’s sad to see players go offshore, who can blame them? Again, they need to think of their futures and families. Pivac, who also coached Fiji, said he sees a difference between why Kiwis and Pacific Islanders head to the Northern Hemisphere. For Kiwis, it’s the opportunity to make a Test team if that’s not looking possible in New Zealand, but for the Pacific Islanders, it’s more about “what that change can do for them” and their families.

    It will be interesting to see how the changes to Regulation eight (residency and international rugby) will affect the current situation, or as I suspect, if it has any effect at all.

    However, there’s another change World Rugby has and it’s also quite interesting; players in under-20s teams will no longer be tied to that country. Now, this opens up the door for earlier enticement from overseas clubs. I see this particular law change being more detrimental to New Zealand than any other country.

    However, in saying that, I believe the lure of the All Black jersey, and the benefits of having worn one (obviously adds value when negotiating), will supersede the instant gratification of a Northern Hemisphere contract. Both law changes will be introduced from 1/1/2018.

    So to those who accuse New Zealand of being rugby colonists and claim New Zealand-born players as their own, you need to do some research as to where people were born. If you’re able to make accusations, you have the technical skills to look up player bios on the internet.

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    The Crowd Says (97)

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:14am
      Jeffrey said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:14am | ! Report

      It annoys me too whenever NZ is accused of poaching when most other nations do it arguably to a much greater degree. That’s not to say that we don’t do it though, we certainly do but in terms of All Blacks who have been poached, I can only think of three, Sivivatu, Fekitoa and Fifita. There is no doubt that they became better players by going through the NZ development system but there is also no doubt that they were only identified by their respective schools/agents for their rugby abilities. It happens to many PI kids and I’m fine with this as it gives them opportunities in life that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:18am
      Samuel Honywill said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:18am | ! Report

      On the flipside of this, just growing up somewhere is also overly simplistic and doesn’t necessarily define nationality either. Although you do touch upon ethnicity in your opening paragraph, I think you generalise far too much and assume your experience is that of everyone’s – you might not feel your ethnicity makes up much of your nationality, but many others do. Take England v India, Pakistan or even the West Indies in cricket for example – played in front of packed grounds in England with a huge and vocal ‘away’ support, but the vast majority of those Indian, Pakistani and Caribbean fans will have been born and raised in England and possess a UK passport. It’s a case by case basis – a player born in Auckland to a Samoan or Fijian family who grew up in a Islander neighbourhood may feel more Samoan or Fijian than New Zealander (and of course many do go on to play for the Islands rather than NZ), but another in the same situation might feel kiwi to the bootstraps. And either way, they have every right to represent whichever nation – the one of their birth, upbringing or heritage – that they choose.

      Also, I do kind of feel organising schools matches in the islands and offering the talented locals scholarships, as schools in NZ do – see Fekitoa, Fifita and Naholo – is pretty much the very definition of poaching in fairness, although it’s nothing hugely different to what the French are doing there (although France’s presence in the Pacific is often also overlooked here though, with New Caledonia, Wallis & Futuna etc) or what the Irish and Scottish do with project players, they just do it once the player is older. It’s only really South Africa and Argentina that don’t seem to take advantage of the residency rule compared to the rest of the world.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 8:02am
        Julius said | September 23rd 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        @Samuel Honywill
        “Also, I do kind of feel organising schools matches in the islands and offering the talented locals scholarships, as schools in NZ do – see Fekitoa, Fifita and Naholo – is pretty much the very definition of poaching”

        Get you facts right. Waisake Naholo has never received a scholarship of any kind. His uncle, Aporosa Naholo, is a New Zealand citizen. The uncle paid for his school fees and Waisake lived with him.

        https://www.odt.co.nz/sport/rugby/rugby-how-naholo-became-all-black

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 11:22am
          Akari said | September 23rd 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          Sam nevertheless makes a valid point, Julius. I don’t think there is any need to be defensive about it even if Naholo’s case is not a great example to make a point. Thanks for that info on Naholo though.

          As far as I am concerned, sports scholarships for Pacific Islanders are a good input in the PI community as a whole. I also subscribe to the view that every player should be given and should take and make the best of whatever opportunity that might come their way. You know, it just makes sense and it’s good for rugby.

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 12:15pm
            Julius said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

            So Sam makes a “good point” even though he is factually incorrect? And when that error is pointed out, that is “being defensive”? OK… (scratches head and walks away)

            • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:34pm
              Perthstayer said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

              Julius, if he only mentioned Fekitoa and Fifita would you still have jumped on his comment?

              • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:53pm
                Julius said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

                @Perthstayer
                Yes. Fekitoa applied for a scholarship from the Wesley Trust while on holiday in NZ. The Wesley Trust was set up over a hundred and fifty years ago by Scotsmen to help with the education of Christian boys from the Pacific .

                Originally most of the recipients were the sons of impoverished European missionaries. Over time it included Pacific Islanders until it became almost exclusively Pacific Island boys.

                As Fekitoa was one of fourteen children supported only by his widowed mother, he seems to be deserving of assistance. Perhaps you disagree.

                Wesley College has turned out some other well-known players: Jonah Lomu and Sekopi Kepu spring to mind.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:45pm
        Not so super said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

        Maybe they should move back to Pakistan if they want to cheer for Pakistan

    • Roar Guru

      September 23rd 2017 @ 3:21am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:21am | ! Report

      This is certainly not something that only Kiwis get accused of. Pretty much every country gets accused of poaching.
      The only proper rugby nations that only select players born and raised on home soil is Argentina and Georgia. Everyone does it, some more than others.

      A thing almost no-one talks about is that Samoa and Tonga are the nations that have most players born overseas (in NZ of course). I wonder how this will affect these two nations in the future, hence many of the players now are eligible through their grandparents, but for the next generation their connection to Islands will be great-grandparents, and that will not make them eligible.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:32am
        Samuel Honywill said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:32am | ! Report

        Don’t think it will have much of an effect, as unless the NZ economy crashes there will always be a stream of immigrants from the Pacific nations, meaning that the pool of NZ-born players eligible will continually be topped up.

        • Roar Guru

          September 23rd 2017 @ 12:52pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          I was under the impression that the big exodus from the Islands to NZ occurred in 1960-70*s. Surely there will always be fresh immigrants from the Islands, but if the numbers are much smaller today, that will have an effect.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 23rd 2017 @ 4:19pm
            Kirky said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

            Sweden! ~ That is a common misnomer as there are more Pacific Islander folk living in Auckland and environs than live in the Pacific Islands proper.

            The majority were born there or wherever else in New Zealand and most were assisted by a Family orientated scenario whereby the whole ”Fam Damily” dibbed in to let a talented family member, who was playing good rugby in the Islands anyway but to improve his lot he needed to be in New Zealand so that’s when the ”crawling over broken glass” kicks in and he gets there ”come hell or high water!”.

            The Pacific Islander Folk are natural runners with the ball in hand and it shows by the plethora of crack Islander players playing in the outside backs.

            They love it in New Zealand and play accordingly with that natural flair and incredibly friendly attitude, it all shines through!

            And no!! the talent Scouts don’t hang around the Maternity Wards so as to secure a signature as soon as that talented ”young fulla” is born!

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 5:09pm
            Coconut said | September 23rd 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

            That is correct TNVFS, there was a very big movement of Pacific islanders to NZ during the time you specified. Many found jobs at the paper mill in Tokoroa, the big freezing works down near Hastings, of course also the major urban areas. What you are mostly seeing on the field are second and third generation NZ’ers who identify as Polynesian and they are New Zealanders. Its already been said that most of the Samoan team come from NZ too. So the players are from a population already established in NZ… it matters little if less Pacific Islanders move to NZ in the future, because such a large population are already there… pretty obvious I would have thought… I dont see your logic there at all… because many English/Scottish people emigrated from the UK to live in NZ or Australia doesn’t mean there are any less of them in the UK… so ????

            • September 23rd 2017 @ 6:07pm
              Muzzo said | September 23rd 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

              Yep Coconut, as I can remember,PI’s arriving in NZ in the 1950’s, for employment & a better way of life for their families. From memory, I think at that stage NZ was classed as a protectorate of one of the Island communities , possibly Samoa. You are so right in your, assessment, of the second & third generation aspect.

            • Roar Guru

              September 23rd 2017 @ 6:43pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 23rd 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

              Read the thread one more time – from the beginning – maybe you will understand Coconut.

              A hint, my reply to Samuel H was about that Samoa and Tonga might get weaker Test teams in the future, hence most NZ’s with Island heritage are gonna be regarded as NZ’s only according to WR eligible laws. Now many with NZ’s with Island heritage can opt to play for Samoa and Tonga due to their grandparents, but the next generation can’t.

              And finally, a word of advice to you and fair few other Kiwis, who seems to do their utmost to misunderstand every word I write, I think you all should have long hard look in the mirror, and if you have any real mana or dignity, you should apologize.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 4:02pm
                Coconut said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

                I have reread your post Sweden… And realised that it needed to be read in conjunction with the one you made which preceded it. If you read it on its own it takes on a different meaning… So the the advice for those that misunderstood should have been to read the one before it…. there is nothing to apologise for, it appeared as though you were telling people to reread your second post which is why the confusion. There is no need to get personal and talk about mana and dignity etc… A very disproportionate and rather hysterical response to the confusion about which post you were referring to.
                For what it’s worth, your point is valid… But I think rugby in the Pacific has more immediate problems to contend with before it gets to that. I am a Cook Islander by the way.

            • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:37pm
              T1000 said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

              @COCONUT

              I don’t know what thread you are reading but the Swede is talking about Tonga and Samoa have many Test players born in NZ. And he makes a pretty good point also.

            • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:46pm
              Dontcallmeshirley said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

              Another salient point is that culturally nobody in NZ asks PI immigrants that denounce their heritage. it is commonplace for these kiwis to identify as Tongan, Samoan or Fijian
              Here in Aust they would be expected to Aussie-up.

              • Roar Guru

                September 25th 2017 @ 10:25am
                John R said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

                No they wouldn’t. Ridiculous claim to make.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:32pm
        Scrumma said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

        More so because of the continuous success that one team shouldn’t have lol, not forgetting the referees favouring my brothers they say lol, or our NZRU is paying the referees, the cheating claims even? and the stealing of pacific island players just to twist the knife ?, but as was pointed out with research that since jules was the 1132 allblack only 33 weren’t born in NZ but many moved here with their families because their uncles and aunties and grand parents were already in our Motherland, hence the pacific island population in South Auckland alone is over 300,000 ?.

        • Roar Guru

          September 23rd 2017 @ 4:38pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

          Well, Scrumma, maybe try to read what I write before you try to reply next time.
          Who knows, maybe you might even learn something…

          • September 24th 2017 @ 8:07am
            Jacko said | September 24th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

            Neutral why do you attack everyone?

            • Roar Guru

              September 24th 2017 @ 10:11am
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 24th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

              I am not attacking, just telling people to read before they reply. That is an advice you should pick up on also Jacko.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:49pm
        Not so super said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

        Poaching by norrten hemisphere is a lot worse
        Dan parks had very shaky relationship with Scotland

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:47pm
        Charlie Turner said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:47pm | ! Report

        Apparently they’ll be mostly under water in the future.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:29am
      Atlas said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:29am | ! Report

      One point ” players in under-20s teams will no longer be tied to that country. ”

      This is not the case now unless a country names it’s under 20s as its Second Designated Team. Only a few do this.

      NZ has never designated its U20 team.
      The NZ Junior team is the NZ 2nd team even though this team had not been used since I think 2009 in Churchill or Pacific Cup competition

      The Saxons are England’s second team and the Wolfhounds Ireland’s, but Wales and France have designated their U20 teams as the next 15-a-side representative team. For Australia it is the Australian Barbarians, not U20

      Link to full World Rugby list here: https://www.worldrugby.org/regulations/next-senior-representative-team?lang=en

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:34am
        Samuel Honywill said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:34am | ! Report

        Wales have already reintroduced their A side recently (although they haven’t played any fixtures yet – the Saxons and the Wolfhounds are so used to not having anyone to play but each other they rarely bother scheduling fixtures anymore) because it was having the unintended side effect of players NOT wanting to play for the Wales U20 side. Many didn’t want to tie themselves to Wales if they were dual-qualified, especially those coming through club academies and breaking into first teams in England as they’re just not as attractive to a club if they’re not EQ – clubs get major funding breaks for EQ players and large financial incentives for fielding certain numbers of EQ players in their matchday 23s. Similarly, many are also dual qualified for Ireland but they were just cutting down their options hugely to tie themselves to Wales aged 17 or 18 as again there are strict policies regarding Irish qualified players.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 23rd 2017 @ 4:08am
          atlas said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:08am | ! Report

          England Saxons went on tour to South Africa just last year, locking a those players to ‘England-only’ futures

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:56am
            Samuel Honywill said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:56am | ! Report

            To be locked in you have to be playing another designated representative team – hence no one who played on that tour was actually captured.

    • Roar Guru

      September 23rd 2017 @ 3:31am
      Harry Jones said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:31am | ! Report

      SA poached Raymond Rhule from Ghana and the Beast from Zimbabwe. One good poach; the other bad. NZ poached a few tries because the poachee prefers not to tackle. Both of them are favoured over guys with 300+ year family roots in SA because of fortuitous pigmentation issues. Ireland and the B&I Lions poached CJ Stander from SA and he’s a good poach. SA needs to poach a coach from NZ.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:42am
        Samuel Honywill said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:42am | ! Report

        Was in Ghana a couple of years back and did a touch of rugby coaching. Definitely a nation with rugby potential – West Africa as a region in general has enormous potential for the sport – so it both amuses and annoys me that the first Ghanaian-born player of the professional era for any team is one who’s a little bit rubbish.

        • Roar Guru

          September 23rd 2017 @ 4:07am
          Harry Jones said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:07am | ! Report

          But that raw speed and explosive power!!!

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 11:26am
          Akari said | September 23rd 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          How about Nigeria, Sam? I’ve played with some players from there and don’t they have explosive power and guile as HJ alludes to as well.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:35am
        Muzzo said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:35am | ! Report

        NZ has had the odd coach, or assistant coaches in SA over the years Harry. A couple that come to mind being Carlos Spencer & Laurie Mains. Even the great Don Clarke, dabbled in coaching, when he first arrived on your shores.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 6:15am
          Riccardo said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:15am | ! Report

          Not everyone will describe him as good but John Mitchell too…

          • September 25th 2017 @ 5:00pm
            Muzzo said | September 25th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            true Riccardo, as I am one of those that describe him as such., But Yep he did coach in the Republic.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:54am
      SAVAGE said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:54am | ! Report

      At least we take the raw product throw him into our system and produce it into a rugby player. NZ should be charging transfer and education fees for all the players not good enough for the ABs leaving and ending up being back page news in the north because they they’re next best thing turning out for a NH country based on grandma and grandpa. Oh and one more thing, stop saying we poach from the islands, if it wasn’t for NZ and to a lesser extent Australia, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji would not even qualify for a WC, purely because of the standard of rugby player being produced over there.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 11:36am
        Akari said | September 23rd 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        if it wasn’t for NZ and to a lesser extent Australia, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji would not even qualify for a WC, purely because of the standard of rugby player being produced over there.

        Typically condescending garbage is the nicest I could say about this view.

        Perhaps, if the ABs and the WBs didn’t look down on and instead toured Samoa, Tonga and Fiji on a regular basis, the standard in those respective countries could certainly have been raised to a much higher standard quicker. After all, Samoa and Tonga have beaten the WBs when they shouldn’t have. It took the Irish a century to beat the ABs and these PIs will get there eventually.

        • Roar Guru

          September 23rd 2017 @ 11:46am
          PeterK said | September 23rd 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          at least Fiji have been included in the NRC

          I think the french with their rugby academies are the biggest poachers of Fijian talent

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:54pm
            Dontcallmeshirley said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

            I agree PK
            Having Fiji in the NRC couild prove to be masterstroke. For me it is one of the few things that make the NRC worth watching. It can only be good for developing depth in Fiji.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:53pm
          Not so super said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

          It’s not condescending – it’s the truth
          To think PI nations will magically improve doe to a few more AB games is fanciful
          Most of their players are full time pros that play against world class all the time

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 8:36pm
          Julius said | September 23rd 2017 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

          @Akari
          Get off your high horse you moralising bore. World Rugby sets the schedule for Tests. There are limited opportunities outside the test window. NZ and the Pacific nations have played many tests . By mutual agreement most have been played in NZ where the visitors get the gate money–earning a far greater sum than they would ever get staging the games at home.

          And what caused your tiny mind to think the Wallabies or All Blacks “look down” on Fiji, Tonga or Samoa? The idea that tours to the Pacific would lift standards is laughable: most of the top players are playing in Europe or are New Zealanders playing top level rugby in the Mitre10 Cup or Super rugby.

          • September 24th 2017 @ 11:54am
            Akari said | September 24th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            Get off yours, Julius. Why are you so easily hurt and lash out?

        • September 24th 2017 @ 1:16am
          SAVAGE said | September 24th 2017 @ 1:16am | ! Report

          It’s not condescending garbage. How many players that come out of the Island system, and go on to be world class players without coming through the NZ and or Oz systems? How many Akari?

          • September 24th 2017 @ 11:52am
            Akari said | September 24th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

            Why don’t you do your own homework first. Does the name Schuster ring any bells?

            • September 24th 2017 @ 2:44pm
              Julius said | September 24th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

              “Does the name Schuster ring any bells?”

              Would that be the same Schuster that came to NZ as a teenager, played club rugby in Auckland for Marist, made the NZ colts side, moved to Wellington and made the NPC side and from there made the All Blacks? But you think he wasn’t part of the NZ system. Hilarious.

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