No, the All Blacks’ domination is not bad for rugby

Zakaia Cvitanovich Roar Rookie

By Zakaia Cvitanovich, Zakaia Cvitanovich is a Roar Rookie


347 Have your say

Popular article! 5,183 reads

    Back in August, Sean Fitzpatrick said, “The All Blacks don’t have a point to prove” and he was right.

    While the BILs series was disappointing from a New Zealand perspective, and obviously didn’t have the result most of us wanted (or indeed thought was possible), it was a challenge that the All Blacks would have relished.

    I believe it’s a result that will help prepare the team more for the endgame (the Rugby World Cup) than a successful series would have.

    The ABs dominance has long been discussed, and has recently become a hot topic again due to an article in The Guardian by Bret Harris. In the habit that has seemingly become the norm for news media, the article has unfortunately been paired with a headline that isn’t really reflective of the words within.

    Harris did not once mention that the All Blacks dominance is threatening “the health of international rugby” but merely asks whether said dominance is good for international rugby.

    He admits, “While New Zealand has been the top country in world rugby for more than 100 years, the All Blacks have not always been invincible, especially at the World Cup from 1991 to 2007 when they were regularly knocked out in the play-off stages”. He discusses the back-to-back Rugby World Cups and the fact the All Blacks have only lost two games since winning the cup in 2015, but suggests it’s up to other nations to match NZ’s standard.

    I completely agree with this sentiment. Do people expect the All Blacks to lose a few games to help the others equalise their success? This is totally incongruous with the team’s philosophy of ‘leaving the jersey in a better place’. If the All Blacks are the “standard-bearers of world rugby”, then the onus is on the others to catch up.

    Brodie Retallick New Zealand Rugby Union All Blacks 2017 tall

    (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

    However, what I disagree with in the article is Harris’ prediction of what he describes as the “yawning gap” between New Zealand and the rest of the world turning “Test rugby into a great, big yawn”. I just don’t think that’s true, and I think it dismisses the achievements other teams have made, or are in the process of making.

    Since Eddie Jones has been head coach, England has made incredible strides since their 2015 Rugby World Cup exit, and is a real contender to lift the Rugby World Cup in Japan. And after the horror of 2016, the Springbok have also made huge strides. And as for Australia, well, after their start to the 2017 Rugby Championship, who would’ve thought they’d end up in second place. And yes, I realise there’s a huge gap between first and second place in the standings, but that’s beside the point. The point is, they improved.

    The ABs aren’t indomitable. They have good days and bad days like any other team. According to Fitzpatrick, “The reality is that every team that challenges the All Blacks plays the game of their lives and, 99 per cent of the time, New Zealand still win”.

    However, while it might be true to say that even on a bad day they can beat most other teams, I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to see this as a given. There will always be games in which they are pushed to the max; the recent Tests in Dunedin and Cape Town prove that. But these are the games that are needed to ensure the All Blacks stay where they are.

    On the two rugby FB groups I’m a member of, people have been lamenting the state of rugby in Australia and South Africa of late, and not just for self-serving purposes. We’re all well aware of the importance of strong Wallabies and Springbok teams; when they’re strong, we’re strong. But there’s also a yearning to return to the competitive matches of the past. And that’s what I found particularly satisfying about the Cape Town game.

    It reminded me of a former game – a game that could’ve gone either way and had me screaming at Sopoaga to kick the “damn ball” out in the 80th minute to avoid a repeat of the first half. After the Dunedin and Cape Town Tests, the comments on those two groups were lauding the improvements made, while hoping that it’s a sign for things to come, the advent of a new era.

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I hate it when the All Blacks lose, but I also see that there are benefits in losing. Whether it’s complacency that’s the cause of a loss, or the absence of pivotal players, none of that matters in the big picture. The history books aren’t concerned with why it was a loss, all they do is reflect the result. As someone who would know, Fitzpatrick asserts that “The All Blacks remember their losses more than their wins”. And as an armchair enthusiast, I know I certainly do!

    Graham Henry rightly believes that “nobody has got the prerogative to be the best in the world forever, and nobody can guarantee continued success”. His opinion is that the gap between the All Blacks and their contenders is narrowing: “I don’t think the gap is too big, which is what rugby needs. It doesn’t need one side that’s unbeatable, because that’s boring”.

    Brian Lochure shares that opinion: “the other rugby nations are catching up and the All Blacks current dominance cannot be taken for granted”.

    While all this talk about catching up is all very well and good, and I for one welcome it, surely what we should be hoping for is consistency.

    What’s the point in one-off success against the All Blacks? Does that really do anything to help global rugby? As previously stated, the All Blacks lose games – not many, but they do lose. However, where they stand out from the rest, is that this has never been the norm, and usually a loss results in a very strong response the next time the teams meet.

    Looking at Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship history, in 1998 the All Blacks had their worst ever year, losing all four games. From 1996 to 2011 New Zealand lost 22 Tri-Nation games. and from 2012 to 2017, they lost two Rugby Championship games. So the All Blacks do lose. But the thing that makes the All Blacks a formidable foe is their consistency.

    The All Blacks are the most successful sports team in history, “achieving a better win ratio than Brazil in football or Australia in cricket”. For Brian Lochore, it’s the centralized system that has put New Zealand in the position we’re in. NZR controls everything at all levels “which enables it to prioritize the success of the national team above all else”.

    In New Zealand the All Blacks come first. NZR have made a commitment to the national team and everything feeds into that. Perhaps this is what other countries need to do in order to close the gap. Perhaps, if WR are seriously wanting to close the gap, more needs to be done in order to protect the national teams. Should centralised systems be the norm? I don’t see why it would work for us and not other countries. Ask yourself this… who do you support? I support the All Blacks, Hurricanes, and Tasman… in that order. Do you rate a club team before that of your national team? If so, is this part of the problem?

    Michael Lynagh suggests that the only business where a monopoly isn’t a good thing is sport but that “the All Blacks are in danger of heading in that direction”. But instead of putting the All Blacks at the heart of the issue, maybe the rhetoric should be reversed.

    So I suggest, to avoid a monopoly in world rugby, unions have to start putting their national teams first and providing a platform for their own players/coaches to get up to speed.

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    The Crowd Says (347)

    • October 15th 2017 @ 3:20am
      Geoff said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:20am | ! Report

      Anyone who lazily condemns past All Black World Cup defeats as choking loses any credibility immediately.

      1991 was one of the most magnificent performances at a RWC by a quit brilliant French side who peaked in that second half. If you really want to claim this one for the choking side then sure, but it’s only one of two.

      1995 They lost in extra time to a very good springbok side in the final. A team who were playing for far more than silverware that day while at home.

      1999 the best side in the world was Australia

      2003 the best side in the world was england

      2007 I’ll give you as an example of doing it all wrong.

      Just because the press decide the ABs are unbeatable despite the obvious realities of the time (including who the best going around actually was in a pre rankings world) doesn’t mean they are in any way correct. It’s a narrative the public enjoys because who doesn’t love to see a media described underdog win?

      • October 15th 2017 @ 6:35am
        Taylorman said | October 15th 2017 @ 6:35am | ! Report

        Small check Geoff…91=99? Oz in 91 were the best side…

        Agree with the choking comment but I think the work done by Henry and Hansen post 2007 showed just how hard its is to win the thing so I think 91 through 2007 were a big case of undersestimating that. I think we were getting it right in 2007 but ran into something unusual there.

        But that lesson served to produce what we have today so France 2007 was probably the most important test match the ABs have played in the pro era.

        • Roar Guru

          October 15th 2017 @ 3:08pm
          Jokerman said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

          Well said, Zakaia !

          The All Blacks winning all the time is just so cool! It’s like watching your favourite Hollywood film – Australia is the baddy, and very weird too (you know, oranges out in middle at halftime) and the All Blacks from Aotearoa seek justice ! Yeah sweet as 😉

      • October 15th 2017 @ 7:46am
        Gurudoright said | October 15th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        Anyone who mentions an ABs choked against France in 1991 loses credibility immediately

        • October 15th 2017 @ 8:29am
          Taylorman said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

          Well thats true, especially seeing they didnt play them in 91.

          What is it about France and 91?

          Now if everyones meaning…99, then theres nothing to do with choking in that match. France pulled some typically french magic out of the bag big time second half.

          Two massive 60 odd meter speculated tries where everything went right and little wrong, plus a nice suka punch kick into the goal area sealed the ABs fate. Only the French could have won like that, certainly not the home nations sides, none of which has still ever beaten the ABs in a single World cup match.

          • October 15th 2017 @ 1:13pm
            Rugby Tragic said | October 15th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

            Sorry TM, I don’t agree with that assessment, that the French flair won the game. At 24-10 early in the second half I think it was (big Jonah scored a couple that day) .. I was feeling pretty happy with myself at the stage, the AB’s don’t lose with such a lead … well that might be my arrogance showing! …

            The reason we lost that game against the French I attribute to one person, and one only. That person is Taine Randell. Never have I seen such as inept performance from a NZ AB Skipper.

            Sure the French played as the French can/(could), but each time the Froggies scored, what was Randell doing? Watch a replay mate, he was standing behind the line waiting for the conversion each time. That guy, what’s his name, Lamason (something like that) score a gazillion points against us that day … pr!ck that he was! … *S*

            At no stage did I see the Randell rallying his troops to get their minds back in the job ala, John Eales, Sean Fitzpatrick, Buck Shelford etc… all he did was put his hands on hips, keeping to himself waiting for the kick to go over, while I was in the stand, with tears welling in my eyes! .. (hardly, but sounds Ok huh? .. :))

            That match also resulted in the resignation of John Hart (as well as Randell, who as I seem to recall to an extended holiday somewhere instead of coming back to face the music in NZ). I was a John Hart fan, he was the coach of an exciting Auckland team pre then inaugural 1987 RWC whose games against out greatest rivals, Canterbury, were mere speed bumps.

            • Roar Guru

              October 15th 2017 @ 1:54pm
              taylorman said | October 15th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

              Yes well Ive given up on blaming the steady supply of bad forwards to Harty, who should have been there after the world cup in 87 when Trapp took the Blues.

              Griz just ran the same side into the ground then Mains fluffed around until Auckland started producing the Browns, Lomus etc for the 95 side.

              Randall, Blackadder, Thorn etc, journeyman from a sad era. Mind you, he had the backs but theres only so much you can do.

              But back to the game, watch the outageous bounce etc. a pity because Lonus efforts that match were huge, carrying five players it seemed to the line.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 2:30pm
                richard said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

                Ah yes Taine Randell,groomed by Hart because he fit an image of what John Hart thought an AB captain should be.Remember the final test of 1997 v the WB’s where we were up by 30 odd points in the first half and failed to score a point in the second half? See if you can get the interview from Josh Kronfeld bemoaning the lack of support ( after Z.Brooke had gone off.He obviously is referring to Randall).Hart quickly silenced that.

                Fully agree OB,Randell’s captaincy was totally ineffective in that game.But you only had to watch his game from when he was first picked,and I honestly couldn’t see what Hart saw in him,the only time I ever saw him do anything useful was the 2000? test v the WB’s when he threw a pass to Lomu to win us the game.Never AB material,like others T’man mentions,But that was the problem,the forwards we had in that period were pretty mediocre.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 3:32pm
                richard said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

                Fully agree *RT etc

              • October 16th 2017 @ 6:21pm
                Brainstrust said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

                The defeat in 1999 was due to the slow Jeff Wilson being played at fullback, most overrated player once he lost his pace.
                Cullen would have picked up every chip kick easily.
                But blame it on a guy standing behind the posts from the forwards.

            • Roar Guru

              October 15th 2017 @ 2:14pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

              But Randell sure looked good in that Adidas commercial with the Haka 😉

              The French had a blinder, but I thought too many AB’s players went hiding and just hoped Jonah would fix the problem.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 2:35pm
                richard said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

                There is truth in that.I think of the game the AB’s played v England in that RWC.Would NZ have won without Lomu?I personally don’t think so.The reality is that AB team was poor.IF NZ had made it to the final they would have been flogged.

              • Roar Guru

                October 15th 2017 @ 2:58pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

                The “Give the ball to Jonah tactics” almost paid off, simply because Jonah was that good. But in the end, it was just too simple for the opposing teams to negate that, if Jonah somehow was negated, the AB’s were so easy to read and brought close to zero X-factor.

                Imagine if the current AB’s had a special talent like Jonah and how they would have used him… Scary to even think of.

            • Roar Guru

              October 15th 2017 @ 3:24pm
              Jokerman said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

              Well said, Tragic and nothing wrong with tears. I’m sure Cheika goes home after an All Black game and cries himself to sleep.

              I had problems sleeping after Lions series. My predictions became all wrong when SBW got carded – and I had to be mature and write a kind, finishing article after the series…it was tough.

              I forgot the events of 1999. But sounds like flair + choke huh?! Yeah so it is. The path can change when one addresses the past issues. So yeah the All Blacks are sweet now…a big thanks to Ritchie and the boys. The closing five minutes of the RWC final ’11 was blossoming perfection ! But yeah man it was a sublime closing.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 8:18am
                Connor33 said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

                Sublime effort by the referee, too, J-man. ;-).

              • October 16th 2017 @ 4:49pm
                Jacko said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                Yes Connor the Refs certainly ruined any chance of a fair Lions series thats for sure….

              • October 16th 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Ed said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                The refs in the 2003 and 2015 finals gave us some beneficial decisions.
                Watson penalised the stronger, superior scrum in Sydney while Owens should have given Kepu time in the bin for one of his high, late shots on Carter.

            • October 15th 2017 @ 6:22pm
              Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

              @ Rugby Tragic

              Randell was not even a proper 8 . over 20 years ago so cannot recall who were in the team those days but i think Aaron Pene , Xavier Rush may be better 8 at the time.

              Also i think those days they played Reuben Thorne and maybe Jono Gibbes as the 5/6. not bad players but NZ could do much better.

              but its a long time ago …. hardly recall the guys in those teams exactly ( tho i would recall the name if said).

              • Roar Rookie

                October 16th 2017 @ 8:01pm
                ukkiwi said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

                Deon Muir?

            • October 15th 2017 @ 6:32pm
              Muzzo said | October 15th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

              Hi RT, Yeh mate, I was never a fan of John Hart, mainly due to his constant chips at Laurie Mains, when he held the reigns. Possibly it was a case of sower grapes, due to him missing out in the selection of coach back, when Mains took over. Yeh he wasn’t that popular down south, as was really shown out, when his horse ( Holmes DG, I think it was) won the NZ Free For All, at Addington. They virtually booed him out of the birdcage. Cheers.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 9:45pm
                Rugby Tragic said | October 15th 2017 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

                Ha! Muzzo … When John Hart was the Auckland coach and he picked out Michael Jones and the likes of John Kirwan from 2nds … he walked on water! …

                For me it was the best rugby I’d seen played … Hart had the a team that, irrespective of the number on the players back, they could play ! Ohh, I wish for those days again … (so would TM and Riccardo!)

                And Laurie Main …. OK, Ok. I understand you have to support your own … but. .. but … BUT mate! …I thought he was a average player and a more average coach!!!! … Hey I’m entitled to my opinion eh?… 🙂

              • October 15th 2017 @ 10:21pm
                Muzzo said | October 15th 2017 @ 10:21pm | ! Report

                Hahaha true RT, mate, we all have an opinion, & yes I would like to see those days again. As we know it was Laurie that told Jonah, that he wouldn’t be going to the 95 WC unless he improved his fitness. Well, we all know how that ended up, as it became history. As far as a player went, Laurie was a consistent player, who got the nod by the AB selectors to replace our freezing worker mate Fergie. Then again, he also took his AB team to the finals of the 95 WC, which was a classic game, even if we did lose in extra time. Some claim it was Suzie’s fault, as Mains, did go back to SA well after the WC had finished, to find the proof, which never happened. Where Mains had it over Hart, was his team competed in a final, of the WC………… But OK, we all stick to our own, possibly more by me, as I did attend the same school as Laure, but not the same year.
                PS, mate, Laurie was the fullback, in a good socializing mate of mine’s last test. Piney, back in 71 against the Lions. Cheers Buddy.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 11:20am
                taylorman said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

                That 95 team came out of nowhere, 92-95 Mains had registered 8 losses before the world cup and there could have been more, the Lions hammered the AB’s in one test. They were terrible.

                For me it was Mains conditioning of the players that took the side to a new level. He ran them ragged before the tournament.

        • Roar Guru

          October 15th 2017 @ 3:49pm
          Jokerman said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

          And it has to be said…SA and Australia did everything right to get a deserving win over the All Blacks in their last test against them.

          Brilliance all round. Just when it looks like the All Blacks are vulnerable a new black wave comes. Though a really fine effort by Australia and SA – polished and refined and executed their blueprint with precision. A bit of magic vs magic really.

      • October 15th 2017 @ 11:30am
        Noodles said | October 15th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        To me the debate on this author is about the basic question. The ABs dominate at present through a rigour and a focus that has most of its players engaged. It’s clearly a winning approach. But more important is that it’s attractive. NZ is playing the game for its merits. They have forced everyone rise to follow. Now we can expect the Rwc in Japan to be a classic with at least four or five teams playing a highly skilled and entertaining game at a high standard.
        I don’t care if NZ dominate that picture because they deserve to. What I never ever want to see again is a Rwc final like the one in Paris. Go wallabies!

    • Roar Guru

      October 15th 2017 @ 5:10am
      Derm McCrum said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:10am | ! Report

      I agree with the headline – NZ domination is not bad for rugby.

      Brett Harris article is poorly written though.

    • Roar Guru

      October 15th 2017 @ 5:24am
      Derm McCrum said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:24am | ! Report

      “Harris did not once mention that the All Blacks dominance is threatening “the health of international rugby” but merely asks whether said dominance is good for international rugby.”

      Hmmm. What he actually wrote was:

      The All Blacks’ dominance might be wonderful for rugby in New Zealand, but questions remain as to whether it is positive for Test rugby and the health of the game in other countries.”

      “In New Zealand the All Blacks come first. NZR have made a commitment to the national team and everything feeds into that. Perhaps this is what other countries need to do in order to close the gap. Perhaps, if WR are seriously wanting to close the gap, more needs to be done in order to protect the national teams. Should centralised systems be the norm? I don’t see why it would work for us and not other countries.”

      Perhaps some other countries already are doing this, Zakaia?

      • October 15th 2017 @ 2:37pm
        Cliff (Bishkek) said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

        Pot Ale, what is happening in NZ with the policy of ABs first is that the NZRU has not forgotten the grassroots and the feeder competitions. In Australia the ARU has forgotten its base – and even though the responsibility is that of the State Unions, the ARU does nothing – zip – to assist in anyway.

        Australia is just not on the same planet as NZ when it comes to management of Rugby in Australia. Our State Unions are also cruelling Rugby in this country

        And in South Africa – it is all politics and quotas!! Cheers

        • October 15th 2017 @ 5:46pm
          Pinetree said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

          I think Poth Ale may be referring to some of the NH teams, as NZ/Aus/SA does not make world rugby…but yes, you are correct about SA/Aus.

          • Roar Guru

            October 15th 2017 @ 11:56pm
            Derm McCrum said | October 15th 2017 @ 11:56pm | ! Report

            Exactly Pinetree. Centralised contracts and ownership/control of clubs is not exclusive to NZ.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 16th 2017 @ 5:52pm
        Zakaia Cvitanovich said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

        No, NZ isn’t the only country that’s doing it. Can’t actually see where I stated that – what I said was, in NZ the ABs come first and everything feeds into that. I also referred to Brian Lochore’s opinion that it’s the centralised system that makes NZ rugby strong. However, while other countries (for example Wales, Scotland, Ireland) do have centralised stystems, are they being managed as effectively as it is in NZ? In an interview, Eddie Jones asked, ‘How can you manage your players when they are controlled by other organisations?’ And that was my point… making national teams the main priority will close the gap.

    • October 15th 2017 @ 7:23am
      Hugo said | October 15th 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

      Good post, Zakaia. I think we’re all frustrated that this year won’t see the ABs going up against England and Ireland. Ireland’s getting together a damn good team (just ask Poth Ale) with young guys like Jacob Stockdale ready to go. A full strength AB loss to Ireland in Dublin would have been perfectly possible which would have somewhat rewritten the AB invulnerable file. The ABs remain rugby’s biggest draw, and marquee names are great for finances and great for the game. The Dallas Cowboys put together a winning record every year for 19 years straight. Nobody wanted to break them up and the NFL just got stronger. So will Rugby under NZ dominance.

      • Roar Guru

        October 15th 2017 @ 3:34pm
        Jokerman said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

        I would love to see a three game home series against England or Ireland hopefully it comes soon. Inflicting pain on them would feel so good! 😉 Peace 😉

        • October 15th 2017 @ 4:54pm
          moaman said | October 15th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

          We had a 3 match series v England 3 years ago.

          • Roar Guru

            October 15th 2017 @ 5:01pm
            Jokerman said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

            Indeed – and we need another, cuz 😉

            I want to see some pain given to them in Aotearoa!!

            • October 15th 2017 @ 5:43pm
              Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

              i think what rugger needs is home and away test series – like in cricket.

              if England or Wales play NZ in NZ for 3 tests , why not NZ play 3 tests in those countries ??

              rugger seriosly needs to reduce the club level games and play more test matches , IMO.

              • Roar Guru

                October 15th 2017 @ 6:55pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                Totally agree.

                Test rugby is what catches the imagination of masses. And while there is a lot of talk about the money the club game in Europe generates, Test rugby is the real money maker in rugby. What could the clubs put up against a unified rugby world with World Rugby and bigger money behind it?

                I would love to see a world league with the top 12 nations (and a tier two with the next 12 nations and with relegation and promotion).

                Every country plays 11 Tests in the World League (no playoffs, just round robin to decide the winner and who is going down).
                Before and after the World League everyone plays one Test series at home and one away.
                17 Tests in total for Tier ones, 11 Tests for Tier two nations every year.
                European Champions and SH champions could be settled within the World League.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 8:21am
                Connor33 said | October 16th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

                I’m open to this idea.

            • Roar Rookie

              October 16th 2017 @ 10:03pm
              ukkiwi said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:03pm | ! Report

              I don’t like your idea NVFS – this effectively makes a club competition out of international rugby. This will soon become the norm and potentially the humdrum. I think the international format is okay good but i would certainly change the Autumn internationals in to 3 test series of one nationan vs another. I guess the issue is all the home nations want to play NZ,Aus, SA and less interest in playing Samoa, Tonga, Fiji.

    • October 15th 2017 @ 8:16am
      Mackenzie said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      What gets to me is the continual bleating from South Africa and Australia over how they are impacted by the player drain overseas.
      So is New Zealand with rugby league poaching Kiwi talent from school boy ranks to help the ailing Aussie NRL. Also the cheque books from the north for elite and journeymen players.
      I don’t see too many Saffas being impacted there from league. Yes I know about the quota system …. but look at Habana etc.
      The sooner they realise they are not good enough historically and currently (with the occasional exception) the better off they will be.
      Years ago F1 commentators were suggesting that McLaren should be handicapped in the Honda-Prost-Senna era but lòok how the mighty have fallen.
      In the past week I have suggested to Steve Hansen a radical change to a part of the game which could/should/may be really effective in attack.
      He may use it or he may not but the point is there are many possibilities for change in our beloved game.
      It is up to the others to do things differently to challenge New Zealand and change the pecking order.
      The All Blacks will not wait for them and neither they should.
      Ecclesiastes 9:11
      I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

      • October 15th 2017 @ 1:56pm
        Brian said | October 15th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

        “Ailing”. Rugby League is in a way better spot than union in this country. The ARU are pretty much bankrupt, and the viewership is pathetic.

        Even Canada is getting into League now with a side in the SL. Better hope the Americans don’t catch a hold of it, because as someone who has spent a good amount of time over there I’d bet on them and their TV networks favouring it over Union. League is objectively better to watch on TV, as Australia’s ratings prove.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 4:07pm
          blagblah said | October 15th 2017 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

          Canada is not getting into league. Its good to see a professional team based in canada but to keep things in perspective that team is playing in a very weak competition. Union is far more likley to succeed in US

        • October 15th 2017 @ 7:56pm
          Jacko said | October 15th 2017 @ 7:56pm | ! Report

          Brian the rest of the world watches Union not league…..AFL rates higher than both Union and League in Aus but does not rate at all in any other country

          • October 16th 2017 @ 1:09pm
            Deir-ba-zor said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            wrong, it rates well in the very important country of Nauru.

            • October 16th 2017 @ 4:51pm
              Jacko said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

              Would that be the AUS TV providor in the Nairu detension centre???

          • October 16th 2017 @ 5:04pm
            Muzzo said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

            Bang on there Jacko!!!

      • October 15th 2017 @ 5:06pm
        mzilikazi said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

        “What gets to me is the continual bleating”…….”The sooner they realise they are not good enough historically and currently”

        Pity you use this tone, MAC……don’t think i serves any purpose really….you even come over as being on the arrogant side.

        “In the past week I have suggested to Steve Hansen a radical change to a part of the game which could/should/may be really effective in attack.”

        So you are an important “cog” in NZ rugby…an influential person, top thinker….be interested to learn more.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 11:30pm
          Mackenzie said | October 15th 2017 @ 11:30pm | ! Report

          I’m sure you would but if and when it happens you will know as it will be significant.
          Yes league is ailing against the AFL …. they even fudged the attendance figures in the semi final.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 11:03pm
        DavSA said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:03pm | ! Report

        Mackenzie , by labeling Bryan Habana a quota player you inadvertently make a case against the system. He was a merit based selection together with JP Pietersen and Guthro Steenkamp in that world cup winning team. They all would have made the side being the best available players .Probably would have been first choice selections for any international team at the time.However because of skin colour they are lumped together as quota players . This is unfair on them . In the current Bok team ,The Beast , Kolisi and Jantjies were not quota selections .Nyakane , Mboneni , Skosaan and Rhule are . But the first three suffer from the same quota lable.

        • Roar Guru

          October 17th 2017 @ 2:40am
          Harry Jones said | October 17th 2017 @ 2:40am | ! Report

          DavSA, there is a third category: a player initially selected on merit, but retained due to the quota, which rises each year. So, for instance, Lambie and Pollard are injured, and arguably, Jantjies is the third best, so he gets the 10 jersey. But then, as his ability to be a test 10 against the best teams is revealed to be lacking, he will get a longer time to fail. That can even become true of a legend like Beast, as Kitshoff surpasses him. So, the coach has to find another position to ‘flip.’ If he drops Elton, he has to promote Rudy, so that he hasn’t lost ground on ‘transforming’ the team to be less white. Even if he prefers Cronje to Paige. The crazy thing about Coetzee, though, is he has better options at 13 (L. Am) and 15 (W. Gelant or C. Bosch) and doesn’t use them, whilst he persists with Jantjies at 10.

          • October 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm
            DavSA said | October 17th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

            Sure Harry .I had to think a bit about about Jantjies and concluded that he was clearly a merit selection initially .If only for lack of any other alternative but he has been given far too much leeway now. I am not on the same page as you with regards The Beast . Still a very good scrum man and also brings tons of much needed experience into the team.But thoroughly agree that there are better options out there in the quota category . Gelant in particular looks a real prospect.

            There is always the sad possibility that pushing a player into test rugby when he is not ready for it means getting exposed and confidence is shredded ..sometimes permanently . Jantjies fault lines were cruelly highlighted when making the step up.

            Quota policy stands in the dock on this point and is found guilty .

    • October 15th 2017 @ 9:04am
      Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      if rugby union had the same fluid eligibility rules as rugby league, international rugby union would be even more competitive..and would catch on more quickly in other countries where it is currently not popular..under current rules, many top players have no chance of playing international rugby..

      • October 15th 2017 @ 10:45am
        Muzzo said | October 15th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        Well Terry, if you care to check, I think you will find that Rugby is played in more countries, around the globe, than what League will ever be likely to match. The game itself is still growing at an enormous rate. with well over 100 countries partaking in the game. As far as top players go, you only have to look at the NZ set up, where many excellent players, are just not that good, as to make that final step up. Cheers.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 12:13pm
          Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          I know..but it can be bigger..

          • October 15th 2017 @ 8:00pm
            Jacko said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

            Terry Union IS BIGGER….In every way…league is a 4 country sport with 3 of those countries ranked 1,2 and 3 in the world in UNION and 1, 2 and 3 in league also. Just in a different order

      • October 15th 2017 @ 10:46am
        rebel said | October 15th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        How so? League and union have the same eligibility criteria where it comes to ancestory or residency. League just allows players to swap between T1 and T2 sides. I’m not sure how this would have a massive impact on Union.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 10:50am
          Taylorman said | October 15th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          Yes Im not sure how using League demonstrates how a game can be expanded…I mean…??

          • October 15th 2017 @ 11:03am
            Ted said | October 15th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

            Union could learn from League on how to make the Pacific Islands more competitive. If they were to loosen the eligibility laws so that players that don’t make the All Blacks or Wallabies could play for Tonga, Fiji or Samoa.

            • October 15th 2017 @ 12:09pm
              Akari said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              Nah. They should extend that eligibility rule to apply to any country provided the player is eligible to play for the said country. If tier 1 teams like the ABs, WBs, SBs, England don’t select the player, that player should be allowed to play for another country where they are eligible to play for. That should then stop NZ, Oz, SA and like countries from hoarding players they don’t want to play for another rugby playing nation.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 3:52pm
                not so super said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                its not hoarding – its called selecting your best team. to allow players to go and then play for their grandparents homeland is mickey mouse

              • October 15th 2017 @ 6:16pm
                Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

                @ Akari

                what the powers that be shud do is allow some of these players from smaller nations , who have been capped by bigger nations, to play for their other eligible smaller country.

                take for eg – Frank Halai , just one cap for NZ and cannot play for FIJI.

                there are many guys like that who if given the chance , will make the smaller teams much better.

                i forget the name of the NZ winger , who had played 7S for NZ thus eliminating him from playing for France.

                he was selected in the squad and then to find out ineligible becoz of one round of 7S rugger.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 5:42am
                Ben said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:42am | ! Report

                Frank Halai has never been eligible for Fiji…hes Tongan…

              • October 15th 2017 @ 8:02pm
                Jacko said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

                But it would all end up like the League mess of the past few weeks….I love the idea that Union is tightening their rules not loosening them

              • October 16th 2017 @ 11:58am
                ClarkeG said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

                David Smith is the name you are looking for I think Cuw.

            • October 15th 2017 @ 12:12pm
              Gurudoright said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

              So basically you are saying that you would rather see a World Cup based on ethnicity rather than nationality. Fair enough.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 12:19pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

                why not either or?..but i guess it’s easy to defend the st atus quo when it favours your national team..

              • October 15th 2017 @ 12:43pm
                Gurudoright said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                Why not have a New Zealand Maori team and a New Zealand Pākehā team instead of the All Blacks then.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 12:48pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                maori already have one..been around for a hundred’s called the nz maori (all blacks)..

              • October 15th 2017 @ 3:53pm
                not so super said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

                Terry, the rules favour the PI, where they take players based on heritage. genuine international sports dont do this

              • October 15th 2017 @ 8:28pm
                ebop said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

                Why should ‘some’ players have two bites of the cherry? I’m all for strong PI rugby but flip flopping is Mickey Mouse, just like the joke that is international rugby league.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 12:11pm
          Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          charles piutau is the highest paid player in the world..the rules should allow him to play for tonga because obviously he can’t play for nz again….

          • Roar Guru

            October 15th 2017 @ 12:25pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

            But Charles rugby education is all in NZ and that where he reached the national team. Tongan rugby has nothing to do with Charles success. So why should he be eligible to play for Tonga?
            If Richie McCaw decided to get his boots on again, should he be allowed to play for Scotland?

            • October 15th 2017 @ 12:39pm
              Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

              because people move out of small isolated islands in a vast ocean and not into it..there’s no professional rugby in tonga..comparing tonga and scotland with its millions of people, tens of thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of rugby players and hundreds of pro players is delusional..your populist argument make philosophical sense but doesn’t reflect reality..i bet you, like taumalolo, piutau would jump at the chance to play for tonga..

              • Roar Rookie

                October 15th 2017 @ 12:55pm
                Shane D said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

                Piutau was born in Auckland Terry. He chose to play for NZ rather than Tonga as he was eligible for both nations. That was his choice alone to make.
                My personal belief is that a player should be allowed to make 1 change after a stand down period of 3 years but only from tier 1 down to tier 2. This is the option the NZRU has put to World Rugby on several occasions only to be voted down.

              • Roar Guru

                October 15th 2017 @ 2:07pm
                taylorman said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

                I agree, something should allow the islands to be more competitve at the world cup purely because of the contributions they make, as well as the special occasion the World cup is.
                For the world cup only an AB should be able to play for their own island should the ABs not select them.
                That would mean better players attend the tournament across the board.
                After the tournament the player can only play for the ABs as that was their original choice.
                There are benefits both ways.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 1:01pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                charles piutau is a product of migration patterns of pacific islanders the last 40 years..moving from the islands to settle in nz, australia and the US..

              • Roar Guru

                October 15th 2017 @ 2:01pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                But Terry, if we start to look at migration streams, how many Kiwis and Ozzies would not be eligible to play for several European teams without ever setting their foot in any of these countries?
                Already now there are too many Kiwis and Saffas in NH test teams, to open up the eligible laws, even more, we would have national “brands”, not national teams. Is that what we want?

                Already today Tonga and Samoas Test teams are filled with players who are born, raised and educated in NZ.

                At the bone, a national team should represent that countries rugby family. If you got most years, or the important years, of your education in NZ, then you are an All Black (no matter where you are born).

                What is the point of having national teams if they don’t represent that countries rugby structures to at least some degree?

              • Roar Guru

                October 15th 2017 @ 2:09pm
                taylorman said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

                You could stipulate the player must have been a resident at some point but I dont mind England snatching an all kiwi player because his mum or dad is english. Grandparents no.

                Its not as common now and it should be world cup only.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 2:19pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

                you can’t begin to compare small PI countries to the powerful european home unions..ireland, wales, scotland, and england have millions of people with their own professional club setups..they can produce their own richie mccaws and brodie retallics..PI countries don’t have that setup nor have any access to pro rugby..yes they rely on nz and australian born PI players because they play rugby at a level that is vastly distant from the amateur game in the islands..if they didn’t, samoa and tonga i bet would not rank in the top 20 rugby playing countries..

              • Roar Guru

                October 15th 2017 @ 3:07pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

                But this is how international sport at large works. We compare countries to each other. And when smaller countries beat bigger ones, we salute them, because we know it is an awesome achievement. If we make Samoa and Tonga New Zealand “B”, it would not be Samoa or Tonga, it would be New Zealand “B”.

                If we create too many loopholes to make smaller nations competitive, it would hurt the integrity of the competition, and in the end what is the point of having national teams?

              • October 15th 2017 @ 3:26pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                cinderella stories died with amateur rugby..

              • October 15th 2017 @ 3:54pm
                not so super said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

                well thats bad luck for tonga then

          • October 15th 2017 @ 2:30pm
            Fionn said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

            I’d like it if a law was brought in that allowed players of Pacific Island eligibility to play for their PI nation even if they had a certain number of caps (say, less than 10) for another nation.

            That would mean guys like Nabuli who played 1 Test for Australia and is unlikely ever to play for the Wallabies again would be allowed to play for Fiji.

            • October 15th 2017 @ 2:42pm
              richard said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

              Didn’t NZ suggest this very thing a few years ago? If memory serves,the celtic unions vetoed it.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 5:49am
                Ben said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:49am | ! Report

                Yes Richard they did and still do each year at the World Rugby meeting.
                …and yes the European nations have continually vetoed it along with Australia who agreed to support Steve Tew and NZRFU in this but have instead abstained at every vote.

            • October 15th 2017 @ 3:56pm
              not so super said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

              why make rules for a couple of tiny nations? can germany, italy and russia do the same? or does the world revolve around this tiny isalnds?

              • October 15th 2017 @ 3:57pm
                Fionn said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                Because the PI contribute a huge amount to world rugby and lack the means to look after their own interests.

                Capping guys like Nabuli once is bad for the man’s career and it is a disaster for the standing of the PI nations.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 8:40pm
                ebop said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

                Would playing for Fiji earn him more money? And are you saying wearing the Wallabies jersey isn’t worth anything?

              • October 15th 2017 @ 8:18pm
                Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

                NZ are serial offenders of this

                Casey Laulala (3) , Sosene Anesi (1) , Seta Tamanivalu (3) , Frank Halai (1) …..

                many others if u take parents and grand parents.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 5:52am
                Ben said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:52am | ! Report

                Serial offenders???
                There are a helluva lot more Palagi All Blacks who have 1-3 test caps only to their name who are unable to play for anyone else.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 9:16am
                Rugby Tragic said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

                @ not so super … have a look at the documentary on Pacific Warriors with an open mind… the link follows ..


                When you think that the English players will receive $40,000 for playing a test against Samoa and the PI’s will get $1,200 without the ability to finance infrastructure, it is very difficult for the PI’s become competitive as nations.

                I think PI’s have given so much to Rugby world wide and WR should step in like the World Bank and finance the building of infrastructure.

          • October 15th 2017 @ 6:54pm
            rebel said | October 15th 2017 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

            So one player? Like I said, it wouldn’t make a huge difference.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 12:15pm
          Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          it will make international sides a lot more competitive..esp. the pacific islands..

          • October 15th 2017 @ 4:12pm
            Jumbo said | October 15th 2017 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            Most of the samoan team were born in nz anyway.

            • October 15th 2017 @ 9:07pm
              Terry Tavita said | October 15th 2017 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

              most of the samoan players playing rugby in nz were born in nz..duh

              • October 18th 2017 @ 1:05pm
                Coconut said | October 18th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                I don’t mind about ex-ABs who have taken a stand-down period to qualify to play for an island they have an ethnic link to, but when you talk about “Samoans” do you mean those who carry a Samoan passport or the ones who were born in NZ and/or carry an NZ passport? Because make no mistake about it, they are New Zealanders first and foremost.
                Rugby in the islands is never going to be tier one competitive because the administrations there have little resources and what they do have, has been grossly mismanaged… so in effect when people talk about ‘giving back to the islands’, what they really mean is having a Wallaby ‘B’ team or an All Blacks ‘B’ team… i.e. not homegrown and not really ‘giving’ anything back to the islands… I wish people would understand this… I live in one of these islands so i know what I am talking about.
                I am sick of seeing Sevens players picked to represent our country on the international circuit, who have never even been back here, or don’t even speak the language… it does absolutely nothing for rugby in this country and yet its the same thing people here are talking about – what is the point of that?!. At least for Sevens, Samoa is actually picking homegrown talent.. different from 15’s, so good for them on that.

              • October 18th 2017 @ 3:26pm
                tamaolevao said | October 18th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                Make no mistake coconut the reason why Nz born Samoans play for the Manu are numerous….
                But I’m pretty certain MONEY is not one of them , the minimum requirement for at least a bench spot would have to be provincial or super rugby IN nz or around the world something equivalent ……if you think the Samoan rugby union matches player fee or even insurance? then you need to ask somebody ….because it’s a risk for them…
                So why then do they put themselves in a position that could jeopardise their careers their livelihood?

              • October 21st 2017 @ 2:03pm
                scottd said | October 21st 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                One of the reasons is that they want the opportunity to play “against” the AB’s. This is particularly true if they are on the fringe of AB selection but unlikely to quite make it. A lot of guys just want the opportunity to play with and against the best on the big stage.
                And good on them too.

                For the record, I am not saying there are not also other reasons such as playing for their fathers country etc.

      • Roar Guru

        October 15th 2017 @ 12:22pm
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        What is the point with national teams if anyone can play for anybody?
        I don’t mind if someone moves to another country for professional or private reasons and eventually represent that country (where someone is born is not that important).
        Especially if someone has reached the highest level and played Test footy for a country I really can’t see any valid reason why they should be allowed to play for another Test team.

        • Roar Guru

          October 15th 2017 @ 2:11pm
          taylorman said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

          But they cant play for anybody. Own, mum and dad. Three. Thats it.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 2:37pm
          republican said | October 15th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

          …..yeah but yours is a very dated sporting virtue where tribalism and loyalty are inherent traits of sport.
          Money is what pervades and ultimately dictates sport at this tier today and this is why ‘sport’ is an oxymoron.
          Why anyone gets at all excited over contests into todays brand new globally mercenary world, is beyond me really.

          • Roar Guru

            October 15th 2017 @ 3:14pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            We are most def starting to reach a critical point where we can start to ask questions how legit the national teams are. But it is not all dead yet. And if you look outside rugby, there are many sports that honor national team – and protects its integrity – much better.

            To be clear, I am not against that you could play for another country than you are born in, but there needs to be some kind of strong connection.

            • October 15th 2017 @ 3:23pm
              Fionn said | October 15th 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

              How many of the SA domestic players would make the Springboks 23 if it was selected from all over the world with no preference given to players playing in South Africa?

              Not many I would suggest.

              • Roar Guru

                October 15th 2017 @ 5:07pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                I watched a fair few of the Saffas in Europe this weekend while watching the Champions Cup. And no doubt, there are some excellent players that could/should play for Bokke.

                Montpellier did lose against Leinster, but Bismarck was just awesome.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 5:49pm
                Fionn said | October 15th 2017 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

                He was my favourite player.

                Might have just been overtaken by Marx… Might have.

                Can you imagine those two playing one half each? I’d be tempted to start Bismarck du (see that pun 😉 ) to his superior set piece ability, and to give Marx the second half as I can only imagine the horror of having to play against his ball running once you’d started to tire.

                Willie Le Roux, Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar are others that I can think of off the top of my head.

              • October 15th 2017 @ 8:36pm
                Cuw said | October 15th 2017 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

                Beast definitely makes the team and so do EE and LDJ

                im sure there are lots of props scattered all over Europe who are better than those fit and available atm in SA. Vincent Koch at sarries ,

                BDP is in fine form he is better than Marx .

                Flow is definitely the best 7 , Marcel Coetzee is out for 9 months.

                Michael Rhodes of sarries has not qualified for England but there is “talk” Eddie Jones likes him ( but then Eddie likes most on a rugger field …)

                hard to believe but Scot Burger at sarries is still so good – aging like a fine wine.

                Ashley Johnson is fine at Wasps either as a hooker or a flanker.

                Hougaard is great for his club Worcester. In fact Gary Gold asked AC to tell what Hougaard’s game is lacking technically – am sure he got no answer.

                Cobus Reinach as i recall was very quick. Faf is easily much better than the current SA scrum half.

                Demetri Catrakilis was a very good kicker.

                Frank Steyn is great at 12 and Juan De Jong at 13. WLR is good at wing or back.

                these are just guys in Aviva i can recall. then there are the other tournaments.

              • October 16th 2017 @ 7:10am
                Fionn said | October 16th 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

                Cuw, I think the domestiv guys from the current team that make the 23 are Beast, Kitshoff, Marx, Oosthuizen, EE, LDJ, PSDT, Jaco Kriel, Kolisi, Pollard, maybe Serfontein (but I suspect would be behind Frans Steyn)?

            • October 15th 2017 @ 6:38pm
              republican said | October 15th 2017 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

              ……….this is a very interesting time in history in respect of globalisation v cultural integrity.
              Sport is a powerful metaphor for what is changing politically and socially, i.e. Brexit, Trumpet, the dilution of the EU, Catalonian independence and so on it goes.
              Perhaps, difference, tribalism, nationalism whatever you may like to call it, has been subverted or at least suppressed since the end of WW2 but have never really gone away.
              These are inherent human traits that not even the construct of our brand new world of plastic altruism & tolerance determined by the almighty capitalist dollar, will render superfluous?

        • October 17th 2017 @ 11:54am
          Akari said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          What is the point with national teams if anyone can play for anybody?

          It’s simple, really. It’s about fairness and enable eligible players to trade freely and so we are not deprived of seeing these players at their peak from playing on the biggest stage; be it at test level or the RWC. Some Roarers have said this is mickey mouse stuff. Really? Do they mean that they’d rather deprive these players of a 2nd chance and an opportunity to represent another country and continue to play at the highest level of rugby? This is bizarre.