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Thread: Rugby: Australia swooping on young Kiwi talent

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    Rugby: Australia swooping on young Kiwi talent

    Rugby: Australia swooping on young Kiwi talent

    By Dylan Cleaver
    4:00 AM Friday Jan 22, 2010




    Craig Dowd. Photo / Greg Bowker



    Australia is upping the ante as the biggest threat to New Zealand's rising rugby talent.
    A summer raid on two of North Harbour's most promising players, Michael Harris and James Parsons, by the Queensland Reds and Western Force respectively, suggests the Australian franchises are looking east to bolster their thin resources.
    Harris, a goalkicking five-eighths, turned down the chance to join the Reds when they would not agree to release him back to North Harbour for the Air New Zealand Cup. Instead he will take his place in the Blues' wider training squad.
    However Parsons, a 23-year-old hooker, is understood to be close to signing a three-year deal with the Western Force.
    It has led Harbour coach Craig Dowd to call for Sanzar to look at a uniform contracting model where players could represent franchises across the three countries and still be eligible to play for their country of origin.
    "It's frustrating," he said, "but at the end of the day these guys want to play Super 14.



    "In many respects that's where I see the Air New Zealand Cup, preparing guys to play Super 14 rugby. I can understand why they [the players] would do it. It's probably the way it's going to go down the track.
    "The NZRU should be looking at something where players would still be eligible for the All Blacks [regardless] of where they play in the Super 14."
    The players' associations of the Sanzar countries have looked at various contracting permutations, but it is not thought to be at the top of the national unions' agendas.
    Meanwhile, the attempted nabbing of Harris, 21, and Parsons, as well as the signings of Daniel Braid (to the Reds last year) and Sosene Anesi (Waratahs), indicates the Australian franchises see New Zealand players beneath All Black level as vulnerable to offers.
    Harris, a schoolboy star at Westlake Boys' High, said his representatives had been talking to the Reds "but it didn't happen for some reason".
    The reason, according to his agent Simon Porter, was a clause that would prevent Harris returning for the provincial championship.
    "It's just one of those things. It's a new situation and nobody wants to set a precedent.
    "I don't quite see why but they [the Australian Rugby Union] don't seem to be too keen on them returning to the NPC," Porter said.
    In Parsons' case, he will be required to be a resident in Australia for three years to become eligible for the Wallabies, but Harris has an Australian grandparent and qualified regardless of residency.
    Porter said the situation of Australian franchises looking to New Zealand talent was only going to escalate with the inclusion of the Melbourne-based Rebels in an expanded Super 15 next year.
    "It's a threat, but is it a massive concern? I don't think so. What's worse, players going to Australia, or Europe and Japan?"
    The Herald could not reach Parsons, but understands he was in Perth and leaning towards signing with the John Mitchell-coached franchise.
    Dowd was not prepared to give up yet.
    "It's early days yet. I'm talking with John Mitchell [today], so should have a better idea."
    By Dylan Cleaver | Email Dylan

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby/news...0621595&pnum=0

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    Last edited by travelling_gerry; 22-01-10 at 21:59.

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    It has led Harbour coach Craig Dowd to call for Sanzar to look at a uniform contracting model where players could represent franchises across the three countries and still be eligible to play for their country of origin.
    This is a total crock! If Parsons was any chance of playing for the AllBlacks, who here thinks he wouldn't have already been snapped up by one of the FIFTEEN spots available in the NZ S14 franchises. The contracting system in NZ means essentially anybody could grab him, so why is Craig Dowd bleating about the guy currently 16th in line for an AllBlack Jersey, it's not about UnZud, it's about North Harbour, and Dowd would be just as pissed if he signed for Manawatu or Otago!

    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    "It's early days yet. I'm talking with John Mitchell [today], so should have a better idea."
    Bad news Craig, the Force have already said they want him, Parsons seems happy with the terms. If you really want to know what's happening, you need to ring JON

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    C'mon the

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    What I don't get is "It has led Harbour coach Craig Dowd to call for Sanzar to look at a uniform contracting model where players could represent franchises across the three countries and still be eligible to play for their country of origin."

    I often get the feeling that Kiwis think that Sanzar now decides everything for them, linked to some grand conspiracy to rip them off. But it has bugger all to do with Sanzar - if they want to retain eligibility, the NZRU just has to say so. SARU picks players from Europe, the ARU and NZRU don't, whereas the ARU has only just accepted foreign players while the others have for some time. Frankly, I have always thought the NZRU would make that call this year because it is in their interests. It would be more a pros-and-cons situation for us.

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    Spied someone who bore a striking resemble to Mr Parsons, decked out in full match regalia in town yesterday afternoon, just as I was leaving work- possibly some sort of official do/being the designated Force man while the others are in SA? Hope that's means he's staying.

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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    in order for this system to work the clubs would have to agree to release any players for provincial or national duty if required... id hate to see national teams ravaged by players respective clubs because of contractual agreements with them.

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