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Why aspiring Wallabies should go to school in New Zealand

Nicholas Bishop Columnist

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Popular article! 6,524 reads

    The All Blacks perform the Haka. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

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    New Zealand is a protectionist rugby state. With its streamlined pyramid tapering to All Black success at its pinnacle, the wastage of both manpower and intellectual property is minimal.

    When Kiwi coaches go abroad, they tend to do it with a view to expanding their horizons and returning home as an improved version of themselves.

    Even players who don’t look as if they might make the full All Black grade – like Hurricane Brad Shields currently – are not let go without a fight if it looks like they might help another nation challenge the motherland.

    Shields is currently the subject of a wrangle between the RFU in England and the NZRFU on the other side of the world. Eddie Jones has been given permission to select Shields for the England tour of South Africa in June, and the player is keen, but the CEO of the New Zealand union, Steve Tew, has threatened to block the move on the grounds that the player is contracted to New Zealand until the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

    Although there is not much doubt that World Rugby’s regulation nine (governing player release in international windows) will supply final say in the matter, the incident does serve as an important reminder of how keenly New Zealand protects its own assets.

    It is the cohesion of its rugby culture which makes New Zealand the strongest rugby nation on the face of the earth. From school and age groups all the way up to Super Rugby, there is a universal acceptance that All Black selection is the ultimate goal, and the development of skills and individual careers is all bent towards that end.

    But the national strength of New Zealand rugby is also its weakness internationally. Super Rugby is dying on its feet because nobody in Australia, South Africa or Argentina – except maybe the Lions – can compete with the top four Kiwi franchises.

    Even though the Australian regions have been artificially insulated by the 2018 schedule from damaging early batterings, the last few rounds have shown that not much has changed from last season – the Rebels were routed 19-50 by the Hurricanes at home in Round 7, the Highlanders beat the Brumbies 43-17 in Round 9 and the Reds went down 12-36 to the Chiefs at the Suncorp last weekend.

    New Zealand has already tried to slow the leakage of its top talent to clubs in England and France by establishing a bridge with the Harlequins club in southwest London. The strategic partnership announced at the beginning of March envisages an exchange scheme with coaches and players moving in both directions.

    As Steve Tew commented at the time, “This will create significant opportunities for both sides, with players, coaches and staff able to learn from different environments with different people, challenges and cultures.”

    Harlequins see it as an opportunity for up-and-coming players with international potential to develop their skill-sets and rugby knowledge:

    “The system will benefit young players who are out of the academy, into the U20s, recognised as players with potential,” a Harlequins spokesman said.

    “Kyle Sinckler [a British and Irish Lion in 2017], had this agreement happened a few years ago, would have been the type of player who fitted the bill.

    “Equally this is a great opportunity for coaches to mentor other coaches, to learn about the differences between rugby in the northern and southern hemisphere.”

    Ironically, this is just the kind of exchange that Australia needs in order to improve its own Super Rugby teams.

    The standout feature of the current rugby season is that emerging Wallabies are nowhere near as ready to play Test football as their counterparts from across the Tasman.

    But in order for such a scheme to work, New Zealand would have to embrace the wider aspect of its own best interests, and accept that a strong Australia and a strong South Africa are essential to the health of Southern Hemisphere rugby as a whole. Protectionism is a one-eyed view.

    Without a more competitive version of Super Rugby, the tier connecting Test level to national inter-provincial tournaments like the NPC, NRC and Currie Cup will slowly wither and die.

    Why should Australian players go to school in New Zealand to learn their trade? Because they will experience the very best in coaching and skills development.

    But, unlike Allan Alaalatoa’s brother, Michael, they have to go free in the knowledge that they can come back and play in and for Australia.

    Evidence of the success of this transplant was available indirectly in the Reds-Chiefs game. The Chiefs’ side contained two starters, Canadian second row Tyler Ardron and tight-head prop Angus Ta’avao, who are re-treads from careers of previously modest success.

    I remember watching Ardron playing for my local region in Wales, the Ospreys. Although clearly a talented athlete (and Ospreys Player of the Year in 2015), he never flourished fully in the back-row role he was required to play.

    When he signed for the Chiefs in May 2017, it was with the aim of ‘playing the most exciting brand of rugby’ alongside his forwards coach as a Canadian international, Chiefs assistant Neil Barnes. Ardron was recast as a ball-playing second row, in a sub-unit with All Black monster Brodie Retallick, which is emerging as one of the best balanced in the tournament.

    As Barnes put it, “He’s a very good athlete, he’s intelligent, learns quickly, and he can play the game. They would have moulded him [at Ospreys] so he’s a lot more direct but we’d like to see him given a little more width, so he can express himself like I know he can.”

    Apart from satisfying his core functions as the Chiefs’ main lineout target (five clean wins) and restart collector (two wins, see at 0:08 in the reel below), Ardron made a potential try-assisting offload (called back for a forward pass) and scored himself on a pick play:

    His great hands created opportunities for the men outside him throughout the game:

    The most spectacular example of his running and ball-handling ability came in the side’s win over the Sunwolves:

    Ardron has been liberated by a new vision of his abilities and the capacity to release it through advanced coaching techniques. The same could also be said of tight-head prop Ta’avao.

    Ta’avao looked for all the world like a bust, and particularly a scrummaging bust, when he left the Waratahs back in 2017. But despite being rated probably only fourth in the depth chart at his position at the start of the season, he has emerged to fill the starting role more than adequately after injuries to Nepo Laulala, Atu Moli and Sefo Kautai.

    The Reds have based their success this season firmly around the power of their scrum, and they must have been expecting to continue their domination against the Chiefs. In the event they got no change at all out of Ta’avao. The Chiefs’ second try (scored by Charlie Ngatai at 1:17 on the reel) occurred after the Reds had been squeezed off a feed near their own goal-line:

    A third try was scored when a weak defensive wheel took all of the Reds’ forwards out of the subsequent play (at 1:57 on the reel).

    After James Slipper went off injured, Ta’avao comfortably took care of his replacement, (and probably Queensland’s best pure scrumming loose-head) JP Smith, in the second period:

    Summary
    New Zealand’s protectionist rugby policies have made it the strongest, most coherent rugby nation in the world. But now that strength is beginning to turn into a weakness. More current midlife All Blacks are leaving for the English and French club scene than ever before, and Super Rugby is teetering on the brink.

    It is time for bridges to be built and new relationships to be forged.

    The NZRFU already has one beachhead in the shape of the Harlequins club, which gives them some potential to control the movements of players, and the contractual terms of those movements between the hemispheres.

    It may also be necessary to build in the same kind of exchange schemes with Australian (and maybe South African) franchises in Super Rugby.

    Australia currently lacks the coaching infrastructure and talent to bring players across from age-group to regional and international level productively.

    Young Australian players will learn more lessons, and they will learn them more quickly in New Zealand. That will in turn help keep Australia competitive at professional level, and maintain the real worth of a tournament between the provincial and Test tiers.

    It is no accident that the likes of Tyler Ardron and Angus Ta’avao suddenly appear to be far better players than they were in Wales and Australia now that they are in New Zealand.

    They are thriving in the most vigorous rugby culture on Earth – and it is time for that culture to reach out beyond its own needs.

    Nicholas Bishop
    Nicholas Bishop

    Nick Bishop has worked as a rugby analyst and advisor to Graham Henry (1999-2003), Mike Ruddock (2004-2005) and most recently Stuart Lancaster (2011-2015). He also worked on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and produced his first rugby book with Graham Henry at the end of the tour. Three more rugby books have followed, all of which of have either been nominated for or won national sports book awards. Nick's latest is a biography of Phil Larder, the first top Rugby League coach to successfully transfer over to Union, entitled The Iron Curtain. He is currently writing articles for The Roar and The Rugby Site, and working as a strategy consultant to Stuart Lancaster and the Leinster coaching staff for their European matches.

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    The Crowd Says (528)

    • April 25th 2018 @ 4:19am
      John said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:19am | ! Report

      Hi Nick,

      Is it Sam Lousi that was a meddling lock for the Waratahs but is now an established starter for the Hurricanes? Struggling to think of a kiwi who has come to Australia and blossomed. Rathbone and Vickerman come to mind but they were pretty good when they arrived. Obviously there are a few who have enhanced their game in New Zealand.

      On the Quins issue, I think its Narbonne that has the Bob Dwyer and Rocky Elsom connection. Is there anything stopping the NZRU from buying a French club and filling it with young Kiwis? Not a Top 14 club but one of the second division sides that would then win promotion to the top league. Imagine players splitting their time between Mitre 10, French D2 and a wider Super franchise squad. Put a cap on how many games they could play in France – say 5 – so as not to burn them out.

      Just a thought – I can think of just as many cons as pros on this one but it offers a host of possibilities.

      • Columnist

        April 25th 2018 @ 4:30am
        Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:30am | ! Report

        I think Dan Vickerman and Clyde Rathbone came over from SA John 😀

        But Sam Lousi is another good example of a player who looks far better playing for the Canes than he ever did for the Tahs.

        I suspect the NZ union would find it harder to get a foothold in France than England – Bernard Laporte is cracking down hard on foreign imports and I doubt such a purchase would be approved… But an exchange scheme like that at Quins might, or even the entry of a NZ franchise to Pro 14.

        Ultimately it’s Australia who needs the Kiwi help most – SA can always move into Pro 14 because they are already there.

        • April 25th 2018 @ 5:35am
          John said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:35am | ! Report

          yeah – should have clarified.

          • April 25th 2018 @ 7:06am
            Daveski said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:06am | ! Report

            I was thinking Sam Lousi as I read this article of someone that Nick’s belief doesn’t apply too. A poor man’s Will Skelton at the Tahs and now a poor man’s Will Skelton at the Canes simply with better players around him.

            Ardron along with DTH Van Der Merwe and the big beard Barkwill are my favourite Canadian rugby players and great to see him doing so well. Ta’avao I agree looks a completely different player to the sluggish, penalty-magnet-at -scrum-time we saw in Sydney.

            • April 25th 2018 @ 2:06pm
              The Sheriff said | April 25th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

              Not sure about that. Sam has developed his skills, particularly in the way he carries, off loads and his lineout work.

              As Nicholas says, it is all in the coaching and our coaching in Australia, with a few exceptions, is poor, especially at the school level.

            • April 25th 2018 @ 3:38pm
              cuw said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

              speaking of CANADIANS :

              ” Canada great John Moonlight retires

              http://www.planetrugby.com/news/canada-great-john-moonlight-retires/

            • Columnist

              April 25th 2018 @ 3:47pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

              Lousi has looked a lot better to me on the outings I’ve seen for the Canes this year Dave.

            • Roar Rookie

              April 28th 2018 @ 3:26pm
              Phantom said | April 28th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

              If it came to a choice between lousi and Skelton virtually all rugby would select lousi.

              Skelton is a poor mans Lousi.

        • April 25th 2018 @ 4:25pm
          zhenry said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          Absolute Rubbish Nicholas Bishop.
          I usually appreciate your articles, but not this one.

          I see that a number of NZers on here are taking your bait (that NZ rugby is ‘so good’) and saying NZ should offer help to poor Australia and SouthAfrica. Bunkum.
          NZ having sold off its private media to mainly Australian interests
          (the public media is run by an ex Fairfax exec.) have lost much of their identity,
          and are naeve and ignorant enough to allow overseas interests to run them amuck.

          As a NZer here is my answer:

          We give you our ‘intellectual property’ free for all, so you can use it against us, Nice.
          ‘NZ is now so dominate that AU and SA have become irrelevant, so the whole
          Super thing will collapse because of NZ dominance, it’s all NZs fault, unless
          NZ share its secrets on the cheap and help crippled AU and SA.’ –
          Hogwash Nicholas Bishop.

          Australians on here are boasting how the WBs almost beat the ABs
          last year, the Brumbies almost beat the Highlanders except for the last
          10 mins. and so on. Sure Australian rugby is crippled? And look at
          the SA players and teams, even if they had a leg up with NZ Mitchell and company, their Springbok pedigree is looking as strong as ever, regardless of some necessary politics.

          Behind all this Hogwash is the fact that AU rugby has and still does (mainly),
          rely on its private school development program. Wether that’s changing or not
          the ideology of the private schools being superior to the rest is very much entrenched in Australian rugby:
          We are really better than NZers, and because they always beat us (in recent times anyway) it’s there fault for beating us and slowly destroying the Super Competition;
          sure we have to do things but the real problem is those NZers being isolationists, and even though we don’t like to say it, ‘beating us all the time’.
          Even a 12 year old writing that would have his school teacher (not at private
          school apparently) throw it back at him – “Re think the whole thing through Mate”.

          NZ is no more protectionist – a totally inappropriate word – than
          SA or AU, overall the context and processes of our rugby administrations are
          similar, as far as each following there own interests, in fact Tew made some consessions to NZ interests by allowing NZ players and coaches to join AU franchises.

          NZs strength is its weakness because:
          NZ players are going to the money in U.K. and France.
          Because the ABs have such kudos more players stay to be ABs than they otherwise would.
          AU players are also in demand overseas – ABs no 1 world ranking has nothing to do
          with it, AU are close enough.

          The problems with Super Rugby trace back to Australia (wanting to pretend they have
          the rugby strength, re team numbers, of SA and NZ) and SA designing the present
          Super system to suit themselves.

          The ABs Harlequine connection is because the money is in Europe, it’s not in AU or SA,
          besides NZ players and coaches are in AU and SA.
          You’ve had Deans, you’ve got the NSW coach and other NZ bred
          coaches at a more junior level. Thorn is a hibrid but still steeped in NZ method.
          As Spiro commented on Monday AU has a coaching manual, which had very positive results during your successful eras. I made the comment that instead of trying to barge in on our national competition etc do it yourselves, you have been successful before.

          The NZ secret is no secret, anyone studying the NZ system knows how NZ achieve their results.
          Recently the French have done a study of the NZ system, they were allowed full access.

          What Mr Bishop wants, is to mix NZ up with AU rugby interests
          and water down NZs interests – even though NZs present ‘interest pursuit’ is know different from AU and SA.
          The AU financial elite, the Goldman Sachs Bankers et el la will do anything to win; if not on the field, through the courts, through the media, employing a friend of Mr Tew as ARs CEO, or hoodwinking NZR administrators with the above Nicholas Bishop puff.

          This article is a complete dud, but I look forward to your future articles Mr Bishop.

          • Roar Guru

            April 25th 2018 @ 6:30pm
            PeterK said | April 25th 2018 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

            NB isn’t Australian so need to direct comments to him as if he were

            • Columnist

              April 25th 2018 @ 7:34pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

              The problems with Super Rugby trace back to Australia (wanting to pretend they have
              the rugby strength, re team numbers, of SA and NZ) and SA designing the present
              Super system to suit themselves.

              I think this summarizes the mind-set Peter – “it’s everyone else’s fault”. That’s where protectionism sources itself.

              • Roar Guru

                April 25th 2018 @ 7:37pm
                Corne Van Vuuren said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

                Yeah, completely agree with that Nicholas, it does get tiresome the cross blame though.

              • Columnist

                April 25th 2018 @ 7:39pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

                No future in that attitude at all BB as far as the game is concerned.

              • April 25th 2018 @ 8:04pm
                zhenry said | April 25th 2018 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

                So NB you think the Super mess is NZs fault for being too strong?

              • Columnist

                April 25th 2018 @ 8:16pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

                You’re taking the things the wrong way ZH – amazing how a very positive article about NZ rugby can be turned into a forum negative!

              • April 26th 2018 @ 12:00pm
                zhenry said | April 26th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

                No I am not taking things the wrong way, you say that in your article.
                My critic above mentions the AU coaching manual, so does Spiro, WBs have had very successful eras on the back of that manual. It has been shelved. Get it back update it include all the intellectual property given you by NZ coaches and players.
                There is nothing in it for NZ to develope your players, and it is an outrage to suggest it. NZ sponsorship depends on winning, just like any other national team.
                Would you like NZR to ship over to AU and play under WB banner?
                NZR have helped AR for ever with absolutely no return, back in the late 60s early 70s NZ interests saved ARU from extinction.
                All NZR gets is name calling and negative insinuation from AR media interests.
                But develope our players for your betters?
                NZ won’t be isolated if you go under, that’s nonsense, however you almost beat the ABs last year, you have issues only AU can fix. Do it.
                I appreciate the comments below made by ‘Ulrich’ a SAn.

              • Columnist

                April 26th 2018 @ 3:57pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 26th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                NZ won’t be isolated if you go under, that’s nonsense, however you almost beat the ABs last year, you have issues only AU can fix. Do it.

                I’m not Australian and I don’t have AR media interests, so don’t relate to the ‘you’ you’re addressing.

                Why do you think it has been so important for the NZRFU to get a foothold in the English Premiership then? Many of the conditions are the same as in Australia.

                Harlequins are currently one of the biggest under-performers in the League and the organization and coaching structure is a mess. Man-for-man the players are not as good as their counterparts in any of the NZ SR franchises so there is no direct benefit from an exchange of either players or coaches.

                The answer lies on the level of strategic purpose – exactly the kind of thinking I suggest in the article. Fortunately the NZ unions have had the foresight to see the benefits before isolation becomes a reality.

              • April 27th 2018 @ 2:42pm
                zhenry said | April 27th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

                I don’t know you or your interests but I know what you wrote, your article corresponds to a familiar AU theme that NZR should help poor AR.
                Once in the public domaine readers will emphasize their interests, all writers no that.
                I refer you to commenter ‘Ulrich’ bellow.
                Harlequines will help NZ keep more players, they can play for Harlequines and still be eligible for ABs.
                The deal does not involve AB intellectual property.

              • Columnist

                April 27th 2018 @ 4:56pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 27th 2018 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

                your article corresponds to a familiar AU theme that NZR should help poor AR.

                No it doesn’t, it’a about unity in the SH and finding a way to preserve the comps you already have.

                The deal does not involve AB intellectual property.

                So you think Harlequins won’t be expecting to get the best in NZ coaching? What do you think are the pluses of the deal from their viewpoint?

              • April 28th 2018 @ 12:01pm
                zhenry said | April 28th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                ‘Unity’ and ‘preserving the comp’ is a PR ploy (are you in the PR business, by the way) to cover your outrageous theme.
                The viability of the a SuperComp has got nothing to do with NZR coaching their opposition, and I am sure your smart enough to know that.

                Not rocket science, Harlequines will benefit from NZR involvement as AU, SA and other NH clubs have done.
                And NZR gets to keep more eligibility for the ABs.

                Again, it’s the issues not the writer.
                For further replies to your comments, see above.

              • April 28th 2018 @ 12:23pm
                zhenry said | April 28th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                ‘Unity’ and ‘preserving the comp’ is a PR ploy (are you in the PR business, by the way) to cover your outrageous theme.
                The viability of the a SuperComp has got nothing to do with NZR coaching their opposition, and I am sure your smart enough to know that.

                Harlequines will benefit from NZR involvement as AU, SA and other NH clubs have done.
                And NZR gets more eligibility for the ABs.
                NZ does not have a player exodus to AU, however there is a long history of NZR involment with AU, not mentioned by you.

                Again, it’s the issues not the writer.
                For further replies to your comments, see above.

              • Columnist

                April 28th 2018 @ 3:31pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 28th 2018 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                ‘Unity’ and ‘preserving the comp’ is a PR ploy (are you in the PR business, by the way) to cover your outrageous theme.

                I was going to ask you the same Q! You sound like someone attuned to soundbites and bluff – analysis tends to be the opposite.

                Harlequines will benefit from NZR involvement as AU, SA and other NH clubs have done.
                And NZR gets more eligibility for the ABs.

                That’s not what I asked – I asked what the concrete benefits (as opposed to the strategic benefits) would be for the NZRFU/AB’s – on a coaching/playing front, which is the root of your issue with an Australian exchange scheme.

              • April 29th 2018 @ 1:58pm
                zhenry said | April 29th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

                Concrete v Srategic, in the present context, well its both; word play.
                I am going to repeat what I have already said.
                AU have internal problems with their own AR, AU can only fix that themselve.

                There is no benefit for NZR to coach their opposition, AR.
                Regardless it is highly unlikely that AR will extinguish, it’s too well entrenched:
                It would be inconvenient but NZR have plenty of alternatives.
                Harlequines are not at present strong but NZR will improve Harlq just like they would AU (entirely dependent on present period) however NZR get the ‘concrete’ benefit of competing against U.K. IRE and Euro club teams, plus the ‘concrete’ fact of keeping more of their players for AB selection.
                Needless to say there is not a mass exodus of NZ players to AU.

                I notice articles on Roar, that deprecate NZ overseas coaching, because behind it is really a lot of AU coaches and players that have built a 20 year foundation for it. Well tell NB about it, and get them back over here!
                That’s an AU attitude that’s got a lot to do with all of this (NB is expressing an AU attitude):
                We are so superior (the private school ethos) it’s really AU that dominates rugby coaching, and NZ should do what we want regardless of it weakening NZ, it’s all about AU mate!

                By the way, let the readers decide about the sanity of the arguments.

              • Columnist

                April 29th 2018 @ 3:52pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 29th 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                I notice articles on Roar, that deprecate NZ overseas coaching, because behind it is really a lot of AU coaches and players that have built a 20 year foundation for it. Well tell NB about it, and get them back over here!
                That’s an AU attitude that’s got a lot to do with all of this (NB is expressing an AU attitude):
                We are so superior (the private school ethos) it’s really AU that dominates rugby coaching, and NZ should do what we want regardless of it weakening NZ, it’s all about AU mate!

                A long time since I’ve heard quite such a load of unadulterated nonsense and pure porkies! Well done, I hope they’re paying you well 😀

              • April 29th 2018 @ 4:17pm
                zhenry said | April 29th 2018 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                I want an apology Mr Bishop, and I want Roar editors to insist on it.
                See article ‘Time for Rugby Australia to be Properly Selfish’ by Derm McCrum (PothAle) 3 days ago.

              • April 28th 2018 @ 12:27pm
                zhenry said | April 28th 2018 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

                ‘Unity’ and ‘preserving the comp’ is a PR ploy (are you in the PR business, by the way) to cover your outrageous theme.
                The viability of the a SuperComp has got nothing to do with NZR coaching their opposition, and I am sure your smart enough to know that.

                Harlequines will benefit from NZR involvement as AU, SA and other NH clubs have done.
                And NZR gets more eligibility for the ABs.
                NZ does not have a player exodus to AU, however there is a long history of NZR involment with AU, not mentioned by you.
                In fact in quite a few instances against NZs own interests which of course I do not support.

                Again, it’s the issues not the writer.
                For further replies to your comments, see above.

              • April 28th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                zhenry said | April 28th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                That was a mistake, believe me, not trying to emphasise a point!

              • Roar Guru

                April 26th 2018 @ 1:36pm
                jeznez said | April 26th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

                Zed, Nick isn’t an Aussie.

            • April 25th 2018 @ 7:49pm
              zhenry said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

              No need for you to direct any comments to my article, they are a complete red herring PK, based on your own authoritarian assumptions.
              My comments address his article and authorship, his nationality is irrelevant.

              • Roar Guru

                April 25th 2018 @ 8:00pm
                PeterK said | April 25th 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

                you direct points to him as if he were australian and making these suggestion to improve rugby for his country and thus take away his agency of neutrality

              • April 26th 2018 @ 10:40am
                zhenry said | April 26th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

                PK
                As I say above your objection is irrelevant.
                At the beginning of my comment I say this is from a NZ point of view.
                Anyone familiar with writing knows that once an article is in the public domaine, it is open to reader interpretation.
                However my response is focused: NB does emphasise NZ helping AU, I am sure it is obvious to him how well SA teams are playing; there are comments in the media that SA will win next years RWC.
                I have also specifed my criticism and given the reasons why (a basic consideration of criticisim) but it has not been reciprocated; instead generalised negativity PR and patronisation: ie NB quotes my comments re the Super Comp, and calls me protectionist, but does not address the detail – crticism which has been well documented on this site
                What does NB mean by NZ being protectionist, define it, give examples and detail of how NZ differs from other Rugby nations in this regard.
                Not doing that, is to give a label for a particular PR agenda, which I hope Fairfax and Murdoch will not run with in the build up to the RWC.
                Such agendas could cover an attempt by AR to mess with AB intellectual property; even though NZ players and coaches have been doing that in AU (not the latest I hope) over a number of years, a fact not recognised by NB.

              • Roar Guru

                April 26th 2018 @ 11:07am
                jeznez said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

                Z, these two comments betray a lack of understanding of Aussie rugby:

                The AU financial elite, the Goldman Sachs Bankers et el la will do anything to win; if not on the field, through the courts, through the media, employing a friend of Mr Tew as ARs CEO, or hoodwinking NZR administrators with the above Nicholas Bishop puff.

                a particular PR agenda, which I hope Fairfax and Murdoch will not run with in the build up to the RWC.
                Such agendas could cover an attempt by AR to mess with AB intellectual property;

                RA struggles to get a couple of column inches for a positive story about rugby in Australia – yet somehow you think that is out the window and they are able to drive policy when it comes to NZ?

                You are operating under a sorry misapprehension of the state of union in Australia if you think that RA have a skerrick of influence with the media.

                If you want a bit of evidence of where rugby sits in the Aussie landscape then pop over to the Fox Sports Australia website.

                https://www.foxsports.com.au/latest-news

                This is the organisation that has locked down the rights to broadcast the game in Australia.

                If you click on the menu for different sports you’ll see Rugby sits a lowly 6th behind AFL, NRL, Football and Motorsport. The code sneaks in just ahead of Basketball and UFC – this from the broadcaster that has locked the game behind paywalls.

                By all means take exception to the article but if you really think there is a media conspiracy to support Aussie rugby then I’ve got a tin foil hat to lend you.

              • April 26th 2018 @ 1:58pm
                zhenry said | April 26th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

                Much of my working life was in the AU media, but that’s not necessary:
                An intelligent reading of current rugby media and the consequences of various media ownership is all you need.
                How AU rugby sits with other AU sports is not relevant to how it is covered, the amount of coverage, yes.
                NZ sold off its private media to mostly Murdoch and Fairfax; the public media is run by a Fairfax exec. Entirely NZs fault, a naeve and silly act with grave consequences.
                The new Labour coailition govt will change that, however US interests and CIA connections to media (well documented), will do every thing to put Conservatives back in power.
                Fairfax and Murdoch directors have AU’n interests, not NZ.
                The CBD part of Sydney is a strong supporter of AR and those financial elites have huge social clout, Cheika and AR execs amongst them.
                The tone of rugby articles re the ABs has much less respect than those for WBs.
                Same for photographs and how AU and NZ rugby overall is presented.
                Journalists like M Reason constantly target the ABs and best NZ players (esp McCaw) with being dirty (with no mention of other players or teams) and other negative labels. This does not happen to the WBs, in fact dirty play by them is often described as ‘tough’ and condoned. McCaw’s targeting was disgraceful, unrelenting and often malicious.
                It also had consequences for how the ABs were/are refereed.

              • Roar Guru

                April 26th 2018 @ 3:02pm
                jeznez said | April 26th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                The CIA!

                And you think they and RA are orchestrating a campaign by media. You ascribe them way too much competence if you think they could manage something like that.

              • April 27th 2018 @ 1:45pm
                zhenry said | April 27th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                It’s not that simple and direct.
                There are relatively few AU company board directors and quite often they are on the board of a number of other AU companies.
                For example Fairfax board directors would probably know their AR counterparts and maybe some are on the boards of both. Rugby, private schools are in the financial elite domaine.
                AU, NZ journalists would have contacts with their respective rugby unions and players however NZ journalists work for the AU media.
                One of many examples of AU media influence including Roar (see my comments above):
                The AU media push for more Super teams, finally changed the minds of NZRU to support it, the result is a huge structural problem with Super Rugby which effects its popularity.

                jeznez, suggest you check out famous AU investigative journalist johnpilger.com go to his ‘links’ and get familiar with jps more reliable current affairs sites. Start with ‘Consortium News’ and ‘Information Clearing House’.
                Put ‘Operation Mockingbird’ and ‘Ulffkotte editor of Frankfurt newspaper’ in search engine.
                Put in ‘CIA influence in mainstream media’.
                Read ‘Manufacturing Consent’ by Chomsky and Herman
                and get yourself informed.

              • Roar Guru

                April 30th 2018 @ 9:57am
                jeznez said | April 30th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

                Sorry – mate don’t really feel the need to get myself educated about CIA interest in promoting Australia’s Super Rugby agenda.

                Meanwhile this vaunted machine is unable to generate positive reporting within Australia – or it chooses not to? The lack of positive rugby articles to attract fans in Oz seems likely to indicate that there isn’t a concerted campaign whiteanting NZ rugby.

                Individual writers might make a living attacking NZ rugby, I suspect the drive is clickbait much more likely than the conspiracy theory you are describing.

              • April 30th 2018 @ 12:27pm
                zhenry said | April 30th 2018 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

                jeznez
                Your trying to make my CIA comment look ridiculous, that comment was in regard to national politics (its about increasing the profit of US corporations).
                As I say CIA conections to main stream media are well documented, re academic research, media leaks and whistleblowers, including those from CIA itself, not just in the US but all countries esp Germany, UK Canada Australia and NZ. But OK jeznez stay ignorant, that’s fine for you.

              • Roar Guru

                April 30th 2018 @ 2:56pm
                jeznez said | April 30th 2018 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

                You caught me – as if bringing the CIA up wasn’t ridiculous enough.

                If you are just saying that powerful nation’s secret services look to wage soft power through news media, then tell us something we don’t know. China is waging a major campaign in that space in Oz and other nations right now.

                This isn’t news.

                I assumed your bringing it up on this discussion was actually relevant to rugby – that somehow the CIA and RA were waging a campaign of this nature against the NZRU.

                I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case. Rather, guys like Mark Reason (just like the Roar’s own David Lord) make their living by writing the most controversial things they can to generate clicks.

                That is why Reason has an audience in NZ but not in Australia – no one takes his view seriously, he is just there to get a cheap reaction out of the easily angered.

              • May 1st 2018 @ 10:49am
                zhenry said | May 1st 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

                What a tangled……..
                Good, but a lot of people are not aware of US media meddling.
                China? There are whistleblowers re the Chinese intelligence community?

                CIA was brought up as a brief side issue re; the new Labour Coalition govt changing NZ public media.
                NZs private, AU owned media, is pro AU generaly incl rugby, ie the invective is saved for ABs.
                Bias motivated by AU interests – unlikely CIA involvement; but any US corps. part of Super Rugby?

                MReason has NZ audience because his articles appear in NZ Fairfax branch; serious consequences; refs are focusing and penalizing ABs much more.
                The ‘ABs play dirty mantra’ (one of many negatives) is every where in AU media circles, including Roar – SA and AU are exempt or the issue reversed for WBs.
                I agree with Campesie; the ABs play mostly hard but fair – I don’t know the stats re total penalties, red and yellow cards.
                Any stats freaks out there? However that does not account for full on AU media, anti AB campaigns.

              • Roar Guru

                May 1st 2018 @ 11:49am
                jeznez said | May 1st 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

                but any US corps. part of Super Rugby?

                You are looking for a conspiracy – clickbait authors are motivated by clicks.

                RA just do not have the soft power you credit them with.

                And we all think the refs are hard on our teams. The AB’s have always been cynical and with their winning record jealousy ensures their transgressions get highlighted.

                That said I think Read got away massively lightly for his ‘instinctive’ play in the Scotland match last year.

              • May 1st 2018 @ 2:21pm
                zhenry said | May 1st 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                Conspiracy means without evidence. For understanding the world, evidence is crucial:
                And save the ‘name calling’ for yourself. – Finish

          • April 25th 2018 @ 6:34pm
            Englishbob said | April 25th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

            A tiny bit harsh. Nicholas was, I believe, trying to assert a common goal of improving rugby union skill levels and player retention by taking the better bits of the NZ model. English rugby money isn’t endless though, a few of the clubs are only kept afloat by a couple of very rich fan owners, but a possible partnership between SA Aus and Arg similar to the NZ would benefit everyone. so many Aussies already play for Exeter Cheifs they might as well make it official, allow wallabies/prospects to spend some none RWC seasons playing up here and remain eligible, new coaches, more resources etc, and if the club team had a direct link with the wallabies/bokke/pumas then they would probably gain a cult following and a load of new fans and revenue streams.

            • Columnist

              April 25th 2018 @ 7:29pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

              so many Aussies already play for Exeter Cheifs they might as well make it official, allow wallabies/prospects to spend some none RWC seasons playing up here and remain eligible, new coaches, more resources etc, and if the club team had a direct link with the wallabies/bokke/pumas then they would probably gain a cult following and a load of new fans and revenue streams.

              Not a bad idea at all EB!

              • April 25th 2018 @ 8:33pm
                cuw said | April 25th 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

                do they ?

                i thought Exeter had more English players than foreigners

                apart from Dave Dennis Nic White and Lauchie Turner….

            • April 25th 2018 @ 9:43pm
              Connor33 said | April 25th 2018 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

              Agree with this. Kerevi should spend the next 3years at Exexeter and hopefully come back a better, defensive, player ready for the 2023 WC lead up.

              • Columnist

                April 26th 2018 @ 3:59pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 26th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                He’d thrive in that setting Connor!

          • April 25th 2018 @ 9:22pm
            Raumanga said | April 25th 2018 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

            Agreed,
            Bludging off the kiwis isn’t the way forward.
            Ok yes they have some resources for developing players, but probably not enough resources for everyone to take advantage of them.

            As mentioned before Australia needs to look at the kiwi model and apply the best bits of it.
            Aussies were only beaten by a little in the world Cup final and considering their coaching transition issues performed better than expected.
            Can’t under estimate an Aussie.
            They need to take ownership of their issues and look at resolving them.
            For starters the silly only private schools play rugby.
            Work on your Shute shield, grassroots … Etc
            I would prefer to respect them for resolving their issues than avoiding things and utilising the kiwis as a player development path.
            Welfare is never a long term solution, usually encourages dependence rather than hard work.

          • April 27th 2018 @ 6:35am
            Lroy said | April 27th 2018 @ 6:35am | ! Report

            ZHenry- I think the reality is the All Blacks as an organisation were probably a bit slower than they would admit when it came to adapting to professional rugby.

            Fast forward 20 years and NZ have simply caught up and under Graham Henry set in place structures to ensure NZ should not repeat mistakes it made in the past (having 2 coaches for example).

            In 1995 Aussies had nothing to lose. The Brumbies developed new ideas along with their new players and coaches. Many of those early Brumbies players ended up being great Wallaby players as well.

            So unfortunately for Australia, its simply a revision to the statistical mean. NZ are going to win 8 out of 9 times against Australia, and for that to change, Australia have to make dramatic changes…

            .. and the things Australia needs to do have been discussed ad nauseum for 20 years now, the fact they have never been implemented that deep down says more about Australia than New Zealand.

            The ARU is the least capable out of all the major sporting organisations. I can assure you, Cricket Australia, the NRL nor the AFL would have sat as idle as the ARU if they had the losing record that the Wallabies do against their trans tasman cousins.

            AFL is a moot point since they dont have an international opponent, but even the bottom AFL clubs would not tolerate a record as bad as the Wallabies, check out the stats. On average 3 coaches get sacked every year in the AFL. When was the last time an Australian Super rugby coach got the sack mid season??

            The cricket academy was established in the 1980’s after we experienced FIVE consecutive defeats to the West Indies and then got flogged by England in the ensuing Ashes series. Thats right , it only took FIVE loses for Cricket Australia to get its act together and implement long term strategic change.

            Compared to Cricket Australia and the other major football codes, its hard to come up with any other conclusion other than the ARU are the most ineptly run governing agency in the nation.

            • April 28th 2018 @ 12:47pm
              zhenry said | April 28th 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

              Well Lroy, AU has done very well internationally, except for the last decade or so against NZ, so I suppose there was no urgency admin wise, until those quirky NZers kept beating us.
              Yes AR structure has now to be acted upon and as Spiro suggests the previously successful coaching manual updated and also implemented.

      • April 25th 2018 @ 7:56am
        Cynical Play said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        JP Sauni might blossom if the Tahs ever give him a chance. I don’t get the mothballing.

        • Roar Guru

          April 26th 2018 @ 11:10am
          jeznez said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          I’m keen to see the guy have a run. Then again I want to see Latu back on the pitch. Gibson and Cron have other ideas.

          I seriously don’t get why a promising young player is bought from NZ and then sent off to play Shute Shield.

          • April 26th 2018 @ 9:03pm
            Max Power said | April 26th 2018 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

            He actually came back to Australia on his own and then got signed by the Tahs when they realised he had basically landed in their lap.

    • Roar Guru

      April 25th 2018 @ 4:41am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:41am | ! Report

      The question Nicholas is how many kids can you send over to New Zealand?

      I like the idea of player exchange between the participating nations, but I think it is coaching that needs the exchange and focus.

      The problem is if you have a few kids learning their trade in New Zealand you arent solving the real issues.

      And I count SA and OZ under the same issue.

      No collective mindset, we need to firstly focus on coaching, there needs to be a coaching academy set up by SANZAAR run by the very best NZ has to offer, lets first figure that out.

      Even then, how do we keep our players?

      • Columnist

        April 25th 2018 @ 4:54am
        Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:54am | ! Report

        The idea hatched with Harlequins is an exchange of both coaches and players BB…. I believe the first set of Quins coaches are going over to NZ this summer.

        So an Australasian exchange would follow the same pattern – exchanging both promising young players and coaches for maximum benefit to both parties (but esp Australia). South Africa is slightly different, because I believe there could yet be a major sea-change in where SA chooses to play its top level rugby over the next WC cycle – particularly if a shared broadcasting deal can be worked in the NH.

        • April 25th 2018 @ 7:37pm
          Jacko said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

          What if those kids decide to stay in NZ Nick?

          • April 25th 2018 @ 10:07pm
            Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | April 25th 2018 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

            The IQ of both countries would rise Jacko?

            • Roar Guru

              April 26th 2018 @ 11:11am
              jeznez said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

              very good KC

          • April 25th 2018 @ 11:23pm
            UKKiwi said | April 25th 2018 @ 11:23pm | ! Report

            Haha – that’s exactly what i thought – a season at Auckland Grammar and they might want to grow up to be All Blacks.

          • Columnist

            April 26th 2018 @ 1:23am
            Nicholas Bishop said | April 26th 2018 @ 1:23am | ! Report

            That would not be the aim of the exercise Jacko (either way)!

      • April 25th 2018 @ 7:05pm
        cuw said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

        @ biltongbek

        ” No collective mindset, we need to firstly focus on coaching, there needs to be a coaching academy set up by SANZAAR run by the very best NZ has to offer, lets first figure that out. ”

        NO – i think what is needed is for some of those aspiring coaches to get off their high horses and go to NZ and take up junior positions.

        maybe the governing body can offer a scoll , to ensure financial stability.

        look at RONAN O’GARA – am sure he is taking a financial hit to work for Crusaders – who are definitely not Racing 92 financially.

        very few are willing to go down the order – coaches / players.

        i read somewhere that Pita Sowakula (Fiji ) came to NZ to play in Taranaki academy. now he is playing super rugger after just 2 yeears.

        there are few guys like him – like the Irish prop at Crusaders – who did not have guarantees but still took the plunge.

        • Roar Guru

          April 25th 2018 @ 7:36pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | April 25th 2018 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

          Either way you cut it cuw, so ething needs to be done, I agree junior positions coaching in NZ is one way to do it, especially for young coaches who can sacrafice incomefor knowledge and experience

    • Roar Guru

      April 25th 2018 @ 4:48am
      Harry Jones said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:48am | ! Report

      That big Canuck looks smooth with ball in hand! I was thinking the other day about this topic, but from a SA vantage point. I wondered how much better some of our powerful young forwards (EE, Kriel, PSDT, Kitshoff, even Marx) and fast backs (Kriel, Goosen, Willemse, Bosch) might be right now if they did 2-3 seasons in NZ.

      • Columnist

        April 25th 2018 @ 4:56am
        Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:56am | ! Report

        Yes he does Harry, and he was never encouraged to play that way at Ospreys, who have a diff vision of what they want from a number 8 forward – and wouldn’t consider playing him at second row… Guys like like du Toit, Willemse and Bosch would come on leaps and bounds in NZ for even a couple of seasons!

      • April 25th 2018 @ 3:46pm
        cuw said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        @ Harry Jones

        u dont need so many seasons – if ur talented.

        Saracens wing NATHAN EARLE was a u20 wing in 2011 team.

        He went no where until he had a stint with Canterbury in 2016 miter 10.

        Then he was playing more for Saracens in 2017/18 and then secured a move to Quins fro next season.

        even guys like Leatch , Horie and Tanaka – who played super rugger – became much better players , despite being test players when they came over.

        i think its more about the mindset – of a player or a coach – willing to take a running jump and hope.

      • April 27th 2018 @ 1:14pm
        mania said | April 27th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        yes please harry . send some saffa’s to NZ. would love to see them playing in the ABs

    • April 25th 2018 @ 4:54am
      Galatzo said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:54am | ! Report

      Hello again Nicholas, “Emerging Wallabies are nowhere near as ready to play Test football as their counterparts from across the Tasman.” Neither are emerged Wallabies, and for the reasons you state so well. But it must be acknowledged that pulling on a national jersey is a goal that has never resonated in Oz the way it does in NZ, or SA or Wales. We’re just not that sentimental. I think that behind your core argument in this excellent post is that if there is no future cooperation between SH and NH teams, a hemispheric schism could be on the horizon. Tiny NZ is kind of like 1914 Serbia – oh so small but capable of producing a major blowup.

      • Columnist

        April 25th 2018 @ 5:00am
        Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:00am | ! Report

        Indeed – a radical change of viewpoint is req

      • Roar Pro

        April 25th 2018 @ 10:59am
        Melburnian said | April 25th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Tiny NZ is kind of like 1914 Serbia – oh so small but capable of producing a major blowup.
        – So a sort of All Black Hand then?

        • Roar Guru

          April 25th 2018 @ 11:13am
          jeznez said | April 25th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          very good

      • April 25th 2018 @ 11:53am
        DaveJ said | April 25th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

        It’s not that we’re not that sentimental. It’s just that rugby isn’t the national game as in those countries and takes a back seat to rugby league and of course AFL in terms of viewers, participation, media coverage, etc etc. Rugby union needs to steal some ground back and more from rugby league to maximise its chances of strong national and provincial sides.

    • Columnist

      April 25th 2018 @ 5:04am
      Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:04am | ! Report

      Indeed – a radical change of viewpoint is required now to make SH competition viable, and it begins with New Zealand’s own attitude. If they continue to win SR as if it’s virtually uncontested, ultimately it is they who will pay the price of increasing isolation. They need a strong Australia, and maybe a strong South Africa too – though SA have more strings to their bow right now…

      Tiny NZ is kind of like 1914 Serbia – oh so small but capable of producing a major blowup.

      I like that – well said!

      • April 25th 2018 @ 8:21am
        woodart said | April 25th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        aus already have two ex All Blacks as super coaches, and have had another one as wallabies coach. your attitude seems to be , NZ rugby is to blame for being too good, can you please play badly. what do you want us to do, give you medals for showing up? “we are not playing tiddlywinks”

        • April 25th 2018 @ 9:01am
          John said | April 25th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          Agreed – NZ could assist Australia but if it is to be successful then Rugby Australia should take the lead and approach the NZRU.
          The sheer incompetence of the administrators running Rugby Australia is the problem.

          • April 25th 2018 @ 10:49am
            Peter Kelly said | April 25th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

            +1 NZ is so good because we have our whole house in order, from the Administrator to the players – 1 vision with all on the bus.
            The continual call for NZ to fix everybodies problems and come back to the pack is annoying, Aus needs to get it’s own house in order before anybody can help, SA has some of the best players on the planet but seems to be a political mess – NZ cant fix this for you and cant really help even if they wanted too until you do for yourselves.
            What do you think will happen in NZ if we spend resources helping everybody else so we can lose more often – I’m sure the NZ public would buy into that.
            Lastly we already helped back in the 70s and what have you done since.

            • Roar Guru

              April 25th 2018 @ 11:20am
              jeznez said | April 25th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

              What have we done since? Won two world cups and I will always cherish that period from 1998-2002.

              I agree though that NZ can’t solve the issues of everyone else.

              Although if they are actively working to turn Mike Alaalatoa and eventually Nick Frost into All Blacks it will feel like they actively working against us off the pitch.

              (To clarify, I blame Cheika on MA – but if I see him wearing an AB shirt down the line it will hurt)

              • Columnist

                April 25th 2018 @ 3:58pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

                Very good points Jez, it’s in the interests of NZ to have a healthy rugby-playing Australia – and the health of the rugby-playing world overall is everyone’s concern.

              • April 25th 2018 @ 5:40pm
                Jameswm said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

                Frosty can have his 3 years in nz but he’d better come back. I’d really struggle to ever watch him wearing black.

            • April 25th 2018 @ 11:20am
              woodart said | April 25th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

              quite correct peter. we already supply coaches for about half the international teams, and our players are fair game for all of the big spending french,english and japanese teams. I guess it makes a change from all of the poaching moans we put up with for years, but to now blame NZ rugby for others crappy organisations is just bullsh*t. I suppose the next call will be for our ITM cup to be further Phucked with to help aus. that seems to be a familiar call.

            • Columnist

              April 25th 2018 @ 3:56pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

              The continual call for NZ to fix everybodies problems and come back to the pack is annoying, Aus needs to get it’s own house in order before anybody can help, SA has some of the best players on the planet but seems to be a political mess – NZ cant fix this for you and cant really help even if they wanted too until you do for yourselves.

              Yes you’re right both Australia and South Africa need to get their own houses in order too, no doubt about that. But SA in particular might settle on a solution that New Zealand would regret if they ship out North.

              The dynamic is not just about NZ – it’s about NZ’s relationship to its neighbours. If Australian and South African rugby go down or go away, where does that leave New Zealand? Without any obvious connections outside itself (at every level below Tests), that’s where.

              • April 26th 2018 @ 8:25am
                Jacko said | April 26th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

                Im sorry Nick but Aus and SA being weak ( SA on the rise again by the way) does not isolate NZ to be Kings of nothing. You cant tell me that the NH sides wont want to play NZ so there is all the opportunities needed financially and NZ domestic comp is good enough to maintain international competitivness and possibly good enough to remain 1-3 in the world so who cares what Aus does. NZ has consistantly helped AUS rugby over many years in history so at what point does this help stop and Aus stand on their own 2 feet? (both left feet the way they play rugby)

              • April 26th 2018 @ 2:45pm
                HayMrDj said | April 26th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                @Jacko

                “At what point does this help stop and Aus stand on their own two feet?”

                Tell me what the New Zealand sporting landacape would look like if the Australian competitions said “At what point does this help stop and NZ stand on their own two feet?” and kicked the Breakers out of the NBL, the Warriors out of the NRL and the Phoenix out of the A-League?

                Rugby isn’t everything and New Zealand Sport needs Australia far more than they need us, lets not ruin the one thing we bring to the relationship.

              • April 26th 2018 @ 6:08pm
                Council said | April 26th 2018 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

                No we don’t…

                The problem is you can’t do enough to fix your problems so you expect us to do it for you.

              • April 26th 2018 @ 5:56pm
                Old Bugger said | April 26th 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

                Hay

                Those clubs you mention are there by invitation from each sporting body subject to paying their respective licences. They’re not there because the sport was in a terrible state in NZ. The invitations were extended to widen the sports’ demographic appeal from NZ and hopefully, expand the broadcast appeal and income overall.

                The Breakers have excelled themselves and the Warriors seem to worry the heck out of NZ RL supporters but the Phoenix, well as soon as their licence ends (this year I believe), then I would imagine an overhaul that will exclude them from future participation, within the A-League.

                There are no interests by the NZ teams to seek assistance from their boards, unlike this proposal so and until the sports bodies change there minds, then you can be assured, that their presence in those respective leagues, will continue for sometime.

          • Roar Guru

            April 25th 2018 @ 12:02pm
            PeterK said | April 25th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

            John – The competence of RA is not the only problem.

            The other just as bad problem is the self interest of NSWRU and QRU and possibly other state unions, and Premier clubs.

            Everyone is happy to put their own interest first and have zero care how it effects the rest of aust rugby.

            A classic example is QRU won’t do a deal to let Cooper play for Brumbies.

            The voting rights on the board of RA need to be addressed further to take power away from NSWRU and QRU.

            Even if the administrators of RA were top notch they could not fix or make up for the foundations beneath them fighting against each other.

            Just like NZ might end up being kings of nothing the same applies to NSWRU / QRU, as in shute shield with only a couple of top clubs and don’t care about the weakest ones or evening the comp.

            • April 25th 2018 @ 12:52pm
              John said | April 25th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

              At the end of the day Peter, all of the problems you have outlined above will not be fixed unless addressed by Rugby Australia and if they do address the issues then sorting out the mess is a long term fix and funding is tight but the first step is the hardest to take.

              • Roar Guru

                April 25th 2018 @ 1:00pm
                PeterK said | April 25th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                rugby aust can’t address those issues unless NSWRU and QRU agree, they can veto on their own any genuine restructure or changing the pyramid and taking away any of their power.

                So no even with the best administrators in RA they can’t fix it unless NWSRU and QRU are willing to play ball.

              • April 25th 2018 @ 3:24pm
                Boomeranga said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

                I thought they changed the voting allocation a few years back to stop that.

              • April 25th 2018 @ 1:03pm
                Peter Kelly said | April 25th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                Agree totally RA must fix the fish from the rotten head first.

              • April 25th 2018 @ 1:24pm
                Old Bugger said | April 25th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                I’ll tell you what happens to a fish-head in my household – it gets boiled and eaten, as a delicacy, especially the eye-balls. But, I don’t think anyone would try this fish-head for fear of getting severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.

            • Columnist

              April 25th 2018 @ 4:01pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

              Everyone is happy to put their own interest first and have zero care how it effects the rest of aust rugby.

              A classic example is QRU won’t do a deal to let Cooper play for Brumbies.

              Absolutely Peter, spot on – the last thing Australia can afford to do right now is waste assets. But that is exactly what’s it’s doing with QC and Hunt.

        • Columnist

          April 25th 2018 @ 3:52pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

          It’s not NZ’s fault, particularly on the playing field ofc. But off it they must be concerned about the prospect of isolation. The fact that they engineered the Quins deal showed they recognized the need to reach out, and that principle can be applied a lot closer to home too

          • April 25th 2018 @ 5:27pm
            Peter Kelly said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

            Interesting that NZ went for a deal in UK not with Aus, Crusaders have a deal with US team again not with Aus – this probably says it all from an NZ view.
            Just look at how the Wallabies coach and his mimicking mate perform, who would want to be associated with that.

          • April 26th 2018 @ 5:58am
            Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | April 26th 2018 @ 5:58am | ! Report

            Nic, the predicted logic (or lack of it) has graced your thread.
            “It’s not our fault! So why should we adjust to fix it?’
            If there is no competition there will be no competition. To be a victor a team to first win a ‘competition’.
            Sadly, ‘what we have here is a failure to communicate’
            NZ may end up having no Bledisloe to proudly display.
            It is one of the ironies of life. Competition needs ever increasing competitive effort. But too much competition can create domination and which in turn erodes competitiveness.
            A bit like capitalism celebrates competition as the key element of an efficient economy. Yet large corporations increase competitiveness to the point of monopolisation. When monopolisation arrives competition free falls.This why capitalism needs laws to maintain healthy competition for the sake of a healthy economy.

            • April 26th 2018 @ 4:45pm
              Colin Fenwick said | April 26th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

              For once, I found Nicholas’ article a little over the shop. The following was puzzling;

              “But in order for such a scheme to work, New Zealand would have to embrace the wider aspect of its own best interests, and accept that a strong Australia and a strong South Africa are essential to the health of Southern Hemisphere rugby as a whole. Protectionism is a one-eyed view.”

              Nicholas gave no examples where NZ doesn’t accept a strong Australia/SA and instead presented a few where NZ is in fact anti-protectionist. The Brad Shields issue, in my opinion, is contractual and is probably driven by the Hurricanes wanting him to complete the season.

              Your “But too much competition can create domination and which in turn erodes competitiveness” lacks support. It can even be argued that many (if not most) monopolies occur from too much government intervention, not enough.

    • Roar Guru

      April 25th 2018 @ 5:04am
      Sam Taulelei said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:04am | ! Report

      Nick Frost is a recent example of the type of player Australian rugby wants to be developed in NZ but not lost to NZ.

      An Australian U20 lock in 2017 who stands 2.05m tall, he signed a 3 year development contract with the Crusaders. Ironically his father Steve Frost was a former ARU player retention manager.

      Nick was offered a contract at the Waratahs as well, but decided to further his rugby education across the ditch. If he returns or decides to remain after his contract ends is unknown.

      An informal program of what you’re suggesting Nick had occurred when Australian players would ply their trade in the ITM Cup after Super rugby before the NRC became established.

      Christian Leaaliifano played for Waikato, Peter Betham played for Tasman.

      In 2016 the Chiefs ran a training session in Brisbane ahead of their clash with the Reds, with up to two dozen of the state’s most promising rugby players between 17-21 who were eligible to play for NZ. Their interest was to sign any potential future Chiefs.

      That of course will remain the very real risk to an exchange program, it could be one-sided in who gets to benefit.

      • April 25th 2018 @ 5:38am
        John said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:38am | ! Report

        Didn’t Matt Toomua send some time in South Africa?

        • Roar Guru

          April 25th 2018 @ 5:43am
          Corne Van Vuuren said | April 25th 2018 @ 5:43am | ! Report

          Yeah he played for Western Province in 2009

          • Roar Guru

            April 25th 2018 @ 6:05am
            Harry Jones said | April 25th 2018 @ 6:05am | ! Report

            Rory Arnold played Currie Cup
            Huw Jones for UCT and WP

            • Columnist

              April 25th 2018 @ 6:27am
              Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 6:27am | ! Report

              It’s always revealing to see what a player can achieve in a new environment H – and maybe it’s the truest measure of all, that a players can leave his comfort zone and succeed in an alien culture. No-one in the UK had heard of Huw Jones before he came to Glasgow and Scotland, but he’s blossomed into a good Test player very quickly.

              • April 25th 2018 @ 3:50pm
                cuw said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

                imagine that – after playing for the STORMERS 😛

      • April 25th 2018 @ 9:46am
        Johnny Boy said | April 25th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        Isn’t Nick Frost’s mum a kiwi? He could potentially be lost to Aussie rugby if he really develops and is deemed to be good enough to make the Abs.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 25th 2018 @ 1:11pm
        Die hard said | April 25th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        Did the kiwi connections of Leaaliifano and Betham help them get these gigs Sam. If I was an aspiring kiwi cricketer I would give anything to come over and play here for development but the rugby path the other way seems just as far fetched for young Aussie lads.

        I am also interested to see how Michael Alaalatoa and Nick Frost end up long term.

        • Columnist

          April 25th 2018 @ 4:03pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | April 25th 2018 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

          Michael Alaalatoa seems to be near the top of the pile among NZ THP’s doesn’t he? Cannot be far off a call into the AB squad, if that’s what he wants…

          • Roar Rookie

            May 2nd 2018 @ 9:57am
            Blessing said | May 2nd 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

            Let’s see, Franks, Laulala, Tu’ungafasi, Atu Moli and maybe Alaalatoa. I know that Shag rates Tyrel Lomax very highly and actively encouraged him to return to NZ. That’s one position were NZ has a lot of depth. I also like the look of Sefo Kautai at the Chiefs but he’s been unlucky with injuries. Alaalatoa could end up being an AB but he faces some stiff competition that’s for sure.

      • April 25th 2018 @ 3:54pm
        cuw said | April 25th 2018 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

        i think the opposite happened when JACK WHETTON – son of allblack Gary went to play in Australia.

        wonder what happened to him?

        it was said he did not get a BLUES contract becoz his father was the Chairman…..

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