Sorry, Spiro: Today’s players don’t love rugby less

Fox Roar Guru

By Fox, Fox is a Roar Guru

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    Spiro’s nostalgic trips down memory are great reads, but he seems to have one foot perennially stuck in the past.

    His recent article, ‘Folau’s love of rugby could save the Waratahs in 2018‘ misses some very critical points in certain areas of its discussion.

    In the amateur era – an era that seems close to Spiro’s heart – they played almost solely for the love of the game because their day jobs paid the rent and looked after their families.

    Today, the game of rugby itself does this with huge financial rewards. If they manage their money well, top players can retire or semi-retire after their playing days are over.

    Let me assure you that if the players of the past were remunerated so handsomely as per today’s contractual offers both here and overseas, they would still love the game as players do now but they would equally be every bit as persuaded by the lure of money.

    That is completely understandable and fair enough – do not be so naive as to believe they wouldn’t – but this by definition does not mean they would suddenly love the game less.

    Perhaps one could argue that those past players would love the game even more because now they are paid to do the thing they love and can still support loved ones.

    Also, Spiro, you often infer that past great leaders and tacticians on and off the field of battle for the Wallabies hold all the answers to Australian rugby woes – people like your coaching idle, Rod Macqueen, for example.

    However, the truth is that no-one has a magic wand. Champions of the past will not by definition win today’s on-field battles or the war long term.

    Everything has changed both on and off the field in today’s modern professional era. Some past greats would swim and some would sink. Some perhaps would not set Australian rugby on fire with the same vigour they once did.

    The great poet Lord Byron once wrote, “I love man not less but nature more,” with the link being that man is simply a part of nature and thus loves both equally and sees man not as separate or more or less important than any part or total of the rest of nature.

    Many of today’s players love rugby not less but family and future more.

    Here the link is that rugby in the modern professional era is an equal part of that future and financial solvency of the family, so both rugby and the financial rewards it brings are loved equally. Though, yes, in this case, family rides above all else, it is still part of the greater equation.

    If players can play the game they love and in doing so get greater financial security, they can and often will eventually take it

    So I completely disagree with any inference or claim that players of the past loved the game more than anyone today – in fact, I believe that to be complete and utter rubbish.

    If past players had such financial parameters to consider, their loved ones would also have a say in it, just as they do now. Money that can set you and your family up for life is not to be scoffed at, and for that reason the players of the past would have been every bit as tempted as today’s players.

    Spiro champions Israel Folau, and I have no problem with this – he is a wonderful player and, as pointed out in the article, is committed to Australian rugby these days. Hats off to him.

    Israel Folau Australia Rugby Union Wallabies 2017

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    But let us be fair to others who have left Australian shores – or, perhaps in your opinion, Spiro, may not seem to love the game as much.

    Folau earns top dollar from his playing contract and many great sponsorship deals because he is a very high-profile player who is guaranteed a place in the Wallabies, so overseas offers may or may not be as enticing right now in his career.

    He already earns a huge income from Rugby AU’s bid to keep him and his drawing power in local arenas, and he can always go overseas at the end of his career.

    Folau also does not play in a position like most of the forwards where the body gets pounded for 80 minutes, which can shorten careers.

    These players may decide to make hay while the sun shines if their rewards in Australia are not comparable to those if Folau or David Pocock.

    On that note, Rugby AU paying David Pocock the amount they did to be out of Australian rugby for a full year was mind-numbingly stupid and reeked of desperation – but more power to Pocock’s management for swinging the deal.

    As for the players playing here not loving rugby, the evidence does not support the conclusion.

    The Force fought tooth and nail to stay in Super Rugby, and the club is fighting on. Players have moved to other clubs here and overseas because the future of the Force was uncertain and they have families and bills to pay and futures to take care of.

    Many past players were often more easily rooted to their local clubs and home states and towns due to their day jobs. Competition was localised. Furthermore, rugby itself was not the big money global marketplace it is now, nor was it even at the beginning of the professional era.

    Australian rugby has also suffered in recent years from poor top-end management, and I agree that there is a lack of emphasis on grassroots rugby.

    The talent pool was spread too far across five franchises, thinning it out and thus weakening the overall strength of the Australian conference. The evidence is pretty clear on that in the later stages of the Force before its demise.

    This is amplified by an era when New Zealand rugby is well organised and well managed with better coaches across the board and greater playing depth.

    Getting repeatedly beaten by New Zealand franchises, however, doesn’t mean the players are not committed or less passionate.

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes heads to the try line to score during the Super Rugby Quarter Final match between the Brumbies and the Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on July 21, 2017 in Canberra, Australia.

    (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    The fact is that they were an army spread too far across the front lines. They lost too many experienced officers and veteran soldiers overseas – they lacked leadership at central command and in some clubs at coaching level – and finally suffered from a lack of cohesion or planning from the administrative level, through to club level and down to the grassroots.

    Rugby AU and others, through the disintegration of the administrative integrity of the national governing body coupled with some poor decision-making – from tactics and selection at both the Super Rugby and the national level to indifferent player management that includes a hard-to-fathom protocol for player discipline that is supposedly equal for all – have slowly eroded a great deal of belief in Australian rugby and in recent times brought into question the culture both on and off the field.

    Some of that lack of belief and faith in the powers that govern the game and the state of the game in Australia have manifested to some degree in a lack of belief on the field.

    This is not a lack of love of the game itself but a deep frustration at the way it is being run on many different levels.

    There is a difference, and it is a very important one.

    Yes, New Zealand, even after losing players, still has an unrivalled vastness of talent to draw from, including better-equipped coaches in many facets of the game right down to school level.

    But let’s be honest: it wasn’t the lack of love for the game on the part of the players that was killing Australian rugby; it was a lack of coordinated, well-planned support for that love of the game and a certain lack of respect for the game, including for fans who love the game.

    The Force fiasco, unfortunately for all concerned, needed to happen, but certainly not in the manner it did, and it could have been avoided if Australia had stayed with four franchises in the first place.

    Some may disagree, and that’s fair enough, but going to five Super Rugby franchises was one of the worst decisions in Australian rugby administrative history.

    It began well enough, but as the money was spread thin and got thinner the lure of overseas scouts became more tempting and the procuring of genuine high-quality coaches less affordable.

    Poorly managed national infrastructure, a lack of player and coaching depth at most Australian franchises and, to add insult to injury, getting battered by New Zealand sides exposing all of the above led some players to perhaps take their passion for playing the game overseas.

    They hadn’t lost their deep love for the game, they just wanted to transfer it to somewhere better organised and cashed up to reward it.

    True, overseas poachers didn’t help. Michael Cheika’s infamous Giteau Law was perhaps necessary at some point, but it was ill-timed or at very least short-sighted with regard to the long-term effects after the 2015 World Cup. It was not well considered when Australian rugby stocks were already stretched across five franchises.

    Wallabies player Matt Giteau receives the ball

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Hopefully we will see a new lease of life in Super Rugby and the Australian and indeed even South African conferences.

    On that note, many top New Zealand players have gone overseas as well or are leaving at the end of the year, but their clubs do have the depth to sustain the losses in most positions – though the Chiefs were arguably hit the hardest.

    So, Spiro, there are many mitigating factors in the now professional era that were not present in amateur times and even at the beginning of the professional era, when contracts were not at the giddy levels they are now.

    There is one more thing I would say, though – the lure of playing for your national side has taken a hit. I would argue that many modern players do not put playing for their country at the premium they once did.

    Is it still important? Yes, but if their financial future and that of their families lies elsewhere, many, especially those with an injury toll, fringe international players or the long-term bench-warmers, will still play the game they love elsewhere to secure their futures.

    In doing so, they willingly put playing for their country on the back burner or relinquish the dream altogether unless they meet the criteria. Some are even enticed to play for other nations.

    Today’s players love rugby not less but family and future more.

    Players and fans in Australia would just like rugby administrators in this country to show they genuinely love the game as much they do – to show they give a damn about the state of the game here from grassroots up to the Wallabies, not just about Rugby AU itself.

    New Zealand can afford to make the success of the All Blacks paramount across the game because of the place the brand has in sport domestically and the presence it has globally and because, more importantly, they have well-oiled infrastructure from the top down and the bottom up.

    Perhaps we could say New Zealand Rugby Union’s motto is, ‘We love grassroots rugby not less but the All Blacks more’.

    In other words, they are one and the same because in New Zealand future All Blacks are bred, trained and coached to a very high level within the well-oiled rugby programs they have at the grassroots level.

    By the time they reach even the National Provincial Championship, all the youngsters have the basics of the game drilled into them, so it is already second nature.

    Australia is apparently going to try a similar structure under the new regime whereby there is more communication between coaches at all levels, especially Super Rugby and international rugby – which is not just the Wallabies, let’s not forget.

    One thing is for sure: this time around there will be no lack of love for the game from the new Kiwi CEO, and surely that’s a good thing for Australian rugby.

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    The Crowd Says (82)

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 4:45am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | February 21st 2018 @ 4:45am | ! Report

      In the amateur era players may not have been compensated monetarily, but their high profiles did get them some great career opportunities and some did move from one Province/club to another, Carel du Plessis is one that comes to mind. His move from Western Province to Transvaal wasn’t so he could look at the Mine Heaps

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 5:05am
        Harry Jones said | February 21st 2018 @ 5:05am | ! Report

        In the 80s and early 90s, top level rugby was “amateur” with players being paid under the table through so-called ‘shamateurism’.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 10:51am
        Fox said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

        That is true bittongbek and to Harry as well – but today the contracts and sponsorship can set you up for life and make players millionaires and multi-millionaires very quickly once they reach the top level – the scale is significantly greater and therefore so is the impact on players , clubs, procuring the best coaches, and the entire decision process at all levels.

        But I don’t agree with Spiro’s argument that today’s players don’t love the game like they used to

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 5:07am
      Harry Jones said | February 21st 2018 @ 5:07am | ! Report

      Morne du Plessis was a player who overlapped a bit: he got in trouble for making money, and then he didn’t really get to make enough. Great No 8, as any oldtimer knows, from any country.

      Here’s what he told Forbes:

      “It’s a different game now. It’s a profession. It’s from 08h00 to 17h00— even more. We were amateurs, we practised twice a week. If you look at footage from my day, it looks like a different sport now. The skills today and the strength is something to behold, the guys today are just so powerful. Professionalism and money in the sport has made it a better sport.”

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 10:58am
        Fox said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Hi Harry yeah he certainly was great player a very intelligent student of the game.

        He made a great point about captaincy in the Springboks a few years back saying you get trained as a player to make the Boks but there is not training to be the Springbok captain – you sink or swim – and as he said it is very complex job on and off the field, hinting that deserves perhaps some great past captains working with the new captains.

        Maybe that happens now but I thought that was a very astute comment that we don’t think about sometimes when criticising captains – myself included.

        Great quote to by-the-way and very true.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 11:01am
        Fox said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        Hi Harry yeah he certainly was great player a very intelligent student of the game.

        He made a great point about captaincy in the Springboks a few years back saying you get trained as a player to make the Boks but there is not training to be the Springbok captain – you sink or swim – and as he said it is very complex job on and off the field, hinting that deserves perhaps some great past captains working with the new captains.

        Maybe that happens now but I thought that was a very astute comment that we don’t think about sometimes when criticising captains – myself included.

        Great quote to by-the-way and a interesting perspective from a Bok great admiring modern players skill levels in comparison to the past.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 2:11pm
        sheek said | February 21st 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        Loved Morne. Mongrel on the pitch & inspirational leader.

        For all the gripes from the ABs they were robbed in 1976 by refereeing decisions, and indeed they do have a point about this, two things really killed them.

        They failed to kick their goals & the Boks played a smarter, simpler gameplay. The 1976 Boks were like the 2001 Wallabies against the Lions, they beat a better all-round team by outsmarting them.

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 5:17am
      Nobrain said | February 21st 2018 @ 5:17am | ! Report

      Rugby in Argentina is 99.5% amateur and players for top divisions have jobs , study, or both. They train four days a week and play the game during the weekend. The average playing games during the year is 32 games. If you take a prop name Ferronato as an example, he is a MD, has a family and plays for his club in the top division. He also plays for Argentina XV. If you do not call that love for the game I do not know what love for the game is. The problem we are having is that by the same token we have players in Jaguares that rugby is the only thing they do and get paid for it, so I expect much more from them when they go out and play.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 6:54am
        taylorman said | February 21st 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

        Rugby’s always been amateur and I’d say >95% of NZ’s players 18 and over are amateur as well. The difference is Super rugby was introduced at a pro level and tests have gone pro.

        Other than that, by far the majority of players play the game for the love of the game. Its just yor ‘TV’ rugby thats gone pro and even at Mitre 10 the guys will have jobs and careers outside of the rugby.

        • Roar Guru

          February 21st 2018 @ 10:07am
          Nobrain said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          How can you even attempt to compare NZ rugby exposeure to pro rugby with Argentin? It shows a big lack of knowledge about rugby in Argentina.

          • February 21st 2018 @ 10:48am
            taylorman said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

            No it doesnt. This is your statement:

            ‘Rugby in Argentina is 99.5% amateur ‘.

            This is mine:

            >95% of NZ’s players 18 and over are amateur

            We have 600 rugby clubs in NZ with ‎150,000 registered players.

            The only fully professional sides are the ABs and the Super rugby sides. At a generous 50 a squad thats 300 fully professional pro’s. Mitre 10 has semi pro’s.

            That represents 0.4% of the playing total or 99.6% are amateur, bar the Mitre 10 semi pros.

            Even if all the registereds arent over 18 we still have around 5 teams to each club over 18 as a minimum average, some a lot more. 600 x 5 x say 25 odd per team thats still 75,000 so 0.8% are pro.

            Rugby in general is an amateur game, as are most sports at the general population level. We might have a lot more pro’s than Argentina but thats besides the point. That was your assertion.

            • Roar Guru

              February 21st 2018 @ 11:19am
              Nobrain said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

              It does, Argentina has one SR team whicha happensto be the National Team also. It is in there 3 rd years of professionalism. How many years NZ has pro rugby? I do not understand why your are taking the glove when never in my statment I wrote New Zeland. Perfectly well I could be referring to european competitions. I am just saying that you are clueless about rugby in Argentina where 99 % of the rugby clubs are against pro rugby, actually is the only Tier 1 nations that everybody wearing the national shirt was born in the country. Can you say the same about other nations?

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 12:16am
                scottd said | February 22nd 2018 @ 12:16am | ! Report

                Nobrain, I don’t think he is testing your statements, merely saying that most rugby players are amateur. Some countries may be 99% amateur but even in NZ 95% are amateurs.

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 6:38am
                richard said | February 22nd 2018 @ 6:38am | ! Report

                Is it 95% that are amateurs in NZ? Is there a definitive figure?Safer to say the vast majority are amateur.

        • February 21st 2018 @ 10:44am
          Peter Kelly said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          Since going pro NZ can field the best players available – when all was amateur we always lost players to other careers
          Conrad Smith as a lawyer could not have afforded to put his career on hold for 10 years to play rugby – basic fact everybody has to feed the family one way or another
          The partners know longer can call for choice of rugby or career and family, today they can have it all.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 6:52am
      Malo said | February 21st 2018 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      0-26 shows that oz players don’t love super rugby. It is completely amateurish and dismisses your whole argument.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 11:08am
        Fox said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        On the surface that is conclusion is one we all could make Malo, just as Spiro has I think, but you have to dig deeper than that IMO.

        Frustrations at the administration of the game – poor tactics by coaches and/or selections – injuries to key players at the wrong time – player depth spread across too many franchise all have a role to play. As do simple fact that sometime the opposition is just better than you.

        But I think is unfair to just say 0-26 means Australian players don’t love the game or the jumper they are wearing. I think we will see better results this season with 4 teams and the coaching and player recruitment in some clubs.

        Let’s hope so anyway.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 7:04am
      jeff dustby said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:04am | ! Report

      you cant use Falou as an example for everyone. fact is pro rugby in australia has a mercenary feel about it and players will move overseas or play for another nation at the drop of a hat. quite a few wallabies are only there because it is their best chance of making money

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 11:24am
        Fox said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

        Hi Jeff I used Folau in response to Spiro’s article and I did mention Pocock as being in similar pay scale category.

        It was not at all a criticism of Folau but in response to Spiro’s claims that Folau shows he at least still loves the game here while others – in his opinion – might not as they once did in the past.

        Folau is great player and by all accounts a great guy – my point was that players at the “star” level are remunerated and looked after better with their contracts than others unless there form is dropping for a long period.

        This increased financial reward makes their loyalty to the “love of the game’ , and especially in Australia a little easier but does not by definition, IMO, mean that those who do not stay here or who are not performing as they perhaps should, love the game itself any less or less than those from past eras as Spiro claims.

        For example, how many players would have got the Pocock deal for a full year sabbatical from Australian rugby to ensure they return here to resume playing?

        Again, not a criticism of Pocock, but in response to some of the argument/claims made in Spiro’s article.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 8:42pm
        Peter Kelly said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

        How can you use Folau as an example – he is the ultimate mercenary across 3 codes – he like SBW are professional sportsmen who will ply there trade where ever it interests them.
        And good luck too them – I dont expect loyalty to club or code in the professional arena – the player rarely get it in return once form declines or other issues arise – player are a commodity its club that lasts.

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 7:18am
      Kia Kaha said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      Cheers, FS.

      They don’t love rugby less but they do play it a lot more. And sometimes with concussion and invariably with cuts and bruises.

      Nostalgia is always viewed with rose-tinted glasses. I agree that there are players who thank their lucky stars that they can make a living from rugby.

      But there are others who must feel regret or guilt for lining their coffers far from home. I can’t speak for Dan Carter, for example, but he might well look at how his good mate Richie bowed out and a part of him wishes he’d done the same.

      Pro rugby is global but it’s not played the same way globally and it has a different culture both inside and outside rugby. Not all adapt well to that.

      Then you have players like Julian Savea or Matt Todd who stay where they are – probably to avoid the aforementioned problem. Is that out of love for the game or is it out of love for their life situation?

      Money adds a cynical flavour to everything but I bet every time Richie hears the national anthem being played, a part of him misses that competitive environment and the thrill of professional sport.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 7:39am
        riddler said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:39am | ! Report

        i never played for my country kia.. but every time i see them line up and sing our national anthem i have a nostalgic twang for those days when i dreamt i that i could.. and i am pretty sure that feeling won’t disappear until i am in the dirt somewhere..

        i cant even imagine what it would be like those for those that have done that… to know that they were the best xv in the country..

        that is why i struggle so much with certain characters of our game today..

        • February 21st 2018 @ 7:43am
          riddler said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:43am | ! Report

          on a side note kia.. how good is that it seems as though spain will be in wc 19…

          i am stoked for the lads.. first time since 99… hope that is omen for the wallabies..

        • February 21st 2018 @ 8:21am
          Fionn said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

          Great comment, Riddler.

          How is it in España?? Watched any 6N?

          Although I feel like we would disagree on some of those ‘certain characters’ ?

        • Roar Guru

          February 21st 2018 @ 8:32am
          Nobrain said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          Well, many of the players that play national teams do not know the lyrics of the anthem of the country they represent . Eligibilty laws are so flex nowdays that is no even funny. How many national teams in the last RWC had the full squad born in the country they play for?

          • Roar Guru

            February 21st 2018 @ 2:14pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 21st 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

            Spain’s national anthem does not have any official lyrics Nobrain. No joke.

            And yes, only Argentina and Georgia has national teams where every player is born in the country. That is why it is hilarious when Kiwis and Poms are pointing the poaching finger at each other and throw bricks in their glass houses

            • February 21st 2018 @ 3:48pm
              Nope said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

              Not really.
              NZ, like Australia, Canada and the United States are young countries that were, and continue to be, built on immigration.
              It’s always the whitebread euro’s who expect NZ and Oz (and their sporting teams) to be some vanilla outpost of Europe flying the Union Jack when nothing could be farther from the truth.
              The Islander communities are large and long established in both countries and movement between NZ, Oz, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga is very fluid.
              The same is not true for Europe. I imagine the Fijian, Samoan and Tongan communities in england, Ireland, Scotland et al are small to non-existent.

              • Roar Guru

                February 22nd 2018 @ 2:41am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 22nd 2018 @ 2:41am | ! Report

                What do you know about immigration in Europe? You think they have closed borders? Or what are you on about?

                And bru, no-one has mentioned anything about Islanders in this thread.

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 7:46am
                concerned supporter said | February 22nd 2018 @ 7:46am | ! Report

                NVFS,
                Malo is right when he says, ”
                Like most ex rugby players, we will be watching league until the internationals. Can’t wait for the season to start.””
                My own close family & friends in Sydney, Both sons went to Rugby Schools, played only Rugby,now watch NRL,nil interest in Super Rugby.
                Two South African business associates are Rugby heretics, watch mainly NRL.
                Super Rugby on TV only penetrates 30% of Australian homes.
                Super Rugby are trial games for the Wallabies & All Blacks.
                You may be an Authority on most things , certainly not on the impact of Rugby League in Australia.

              • February 23rd 2018 @ 10:11am
                Malo said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                I’ll get my rugby fix watching easts in April. C ya there.

            • February 21st 2018 @ 7:17pm
              Council said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

              Us Kiwis can afford to considering how many Kiwis play for other countries.

              • Roar Guru

                February 21st 2018 @ 7:54pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

                You have any idea how many players that are born and raised in England that plays Test rugby for other nations Council?.

                In the 6N 2017, 16 players that were born in England played for other Test teams. Kiwi-born players in the 6N? 10. Saffas? 9.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 11:49am
        Fox said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        You make some good point there Kia Kaha

        ‘Then you have players like Julian Savea or Matt Todd who stay where they are – probably to avoid the aforementioned problem. Is that out of love for the game or is it out of love for their life situation?’

        I think that is one of the points I am trying make Kia – that life choices and game choices for professional players are intertwined but this does not diminish a players love for the game by any definition – and on this score I disagree with Spiro.

        Money does not have to make anything cynical ( though I agree it has that potential) and it is not cynical for any player to look after the future of his family by relinquishing his international opportunities or club loyalties to take the short playing time they left ( sports careers have a limited timespan unless you get a TV commentators deal of move into coaching) to make really big money somewhere else.

        IMO, it becomes cynical when clubs refuse to release players to play for their countries.

        I have issues with that from private owners when it is an important tour or game unless they are needed for a competition semi-final or final but even then the fiasco when England last toured NZ , fielding a B+ side in the first test due to players club finals commitments was ridiculous and this needs to sorted out some how so it works for both parties.

        It is hurting test rugby with countries like often France touring in June with B+-teams for the entire 3-test series in some cases and due to clubs refusing to release players for international duty. I think fans deserve better when it came to internationals.

        A global calender might help if it ever actually happens.

        • Roar Guru

          February 21st 2018 @ 5:08pm
          Kia Kaha said | February 21st 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

          There are certainly instances of players going overseas to play club rugby and thriving in that environment. Nick Evans, Paul Tito, for example, and then the players who even got to represent another country. So you’re right, money doesn’t need to taint everything.

          But I imagine there’s quite a few who find out the hard way that if they don’t transition well or live up to expectations, there isn’t going to be much nurturing or support.

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