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Thread: Money starting to outweigh All Blacks jersey, warns departed star Lima Sopoaga

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    Money starting to outweigh All Blacks jersey, warns departed star Lima Sopoaga

    Last updated 10:14, September 12 2018


    Departed All Black Lima Sopoaga has delivered a chilling warning to New Zealand Rugby, declaring that offshore money is starting to outweigh the famous black jersey.

    The 26-year-old has started his English career with Wasps, having left New Zealand in his prime with just 16 test caps to his name.

    While the game's bosses in New Zealand continue to cling to the value of the All Blacks jersey, not picking players from overseas to wear it in a bid to retain talent at home, Sopoaga claims that might not be enough in changing times.

    "Things are starting to change and players are starting to wise up a bit," Sopoaga told The Guardian.

    "They realise that it's a business these days. A lot of us are starting to talk to each other more and talk about experiences and about how we can benefit from the game because it is a business and it can be pretty cut-throat at times.

    "For a lot of guys like myself, who come from big families, from low socio-economic backgrounds the chance to change your family's life is pretty overwhelming.

    "It's not something you should take lightly and sometimes the jersey is not enough for a better life. It is special, the experiences you have are pretty surreal, but down the track those things don't pay for a roof over your head."

    Sopoaga's premature departure hardly came as a surprise. While All Blacks traditionally left for Europe and Japan for big payouts in the twilight of their careers, things have changed with young stars like Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, Aaron Cruden and Julian Savea all boarding planes north while in their 20s and still with plenty to offer the New Zealand game.

    Others like Wellington and Hurricanes captain Brad Shields have given up on their All Blacks dream early and taken up tempting offshore offers to earn good club money and play test rugby for foreign countries.

    Sopoaga said it was a matter of basic economics in many cases.

    "You can easily see why the riches of Europe for young guys appeal – rugby doesn't last forever and younger guys are becoming more aware of that," he told The Guardian.

    "I think that's a good thing. For me having my daughter changed things, how I looked at rugby, how I looked at life. Rugby isn't forever. It can all be taken away from you."

    Sopoaga, like many before him, found himself in a talent squeeze, stuck in a No 10 queue behind Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie and with Richie Mo'unga snapping at his heels.

    In a sport dominated by the four-year World Cup cycle, he chose to exit early rather than contest what will be a flooded player market after next year's global tournament in Japan.

    Recently, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen raised the issue of government help to support the talent for his team. There were also suggestions of tax breaks for top players in New Zealand.

    Given the All Blacks standing as the world's No 1 team and New Zealand's dominance of Super Rugby, the country's talent is constantly in the spotlight and players are prime targets for the increasingly deep pockets of overseas clubs.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/...sopoaga​

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    Sopoaga's premature departure hardly came as a surprise. While All Blacks traditionally left for Europe and Japan for big payouts in the twilight of their careers, things have changed with young stars like Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, Aaron Cruden and Julian Savea all boarding planes north while in their 20s and still with plenty to offer the New Zealand game.
    That statement is about 11 years out of date. The trend started in 2007 when the likes of Aaron Mauger, Carl Hayman, Luke McAlister and Sam Tuitupou all left in their prime to play overseas. Only McAlister came back to NZ and that stint was very brief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post

    Sopoaga's premature departure hardly came as a surprise. While All Blacks traditionally left for Europe and Japan for big payouts in the twilight of their careers, things have changed with young stars like Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, Aaron Cruden and Julian Savea all boarding planes north while in their 20s and still with plenty to offer the New Zealand game.
    I know they did not put a date on when it started, but it is pretty clear this is not a new thing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    That statement is about 11 years out of date...
    Mate, it is NZ - they are still big into streaking. It's going to suck over there when the GFC hits

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    That statement is about 11 years out of date. The trend started in 2007 when the likes of Aaron Mauger, Carl Hayman, Luke McAlister and Sam Tuitupou all left in their prime to play overseas. Only McAlister came back to NZ and that stint was very brief.
    Yeah. A real tragedy for NZ Rugby. Imagine how many points they could've put on the Wobblies if all those blokes had stayed. If they are not careful they will only have the depth to put out 2 teams capable of flogging everybody else, rather than the current 3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
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    ASCII Art in Japanese........cool!

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
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    Doesn't just affect NZ, though; we've lost a few players to Europe who would have improved the Wallabies: Fardy, Mowen, Giteau, Longbottom & Timani all spring to mind straight away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    Doesn't just affect NZ, though; we've lost a few players to Europe who would have improved the Wallabies: Fardy, Mowen, Giteau, Longbottom & Timani all spring to mind straight away.
    The obvious difference being that all of the named players were better than the one the selectors went with (in some cases for years)

    Sopoanga is involved in a genuine selection battle with players who are (either clearly or arguably) his equal or better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
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    TLH taught me that one Coach.

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