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Thread: Thin Edge of the Wedge...

  1. #1
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    Thin Edge of the Wedge...

    I wonder if Razor really wants the legacy of being the man that destroyed the All Black mystique...

    'Decipher that': New All Blacks coach Scott Robertson pushing for 'open-minded' overseas player approach

    Tue, Jan 9, 2024, 8:51 AM
    by Nathan Williamson


    All Blacks coach Scott Robertson is pushing for New Zealand Rugby to consider allowing the new boss to select overseas players for the national side in 2024.

    The All Blacks have operated on a strict domestic-only policy surrounding team selection, requiring players to either play Super Rugby or have a deal to return home in the following year.

    However, the side is dealing with an exodus of talent after their 2023 Rugby World Cup Final heartbreak.

    Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock have called time on their national careers, combining for close to 400 caps.

    Meanwhile, the likes of Richie Mo'unga and Shannon Frizell have headed to Japan, making them unavailable under the eligibility laws, which Robertson is keen to change.

    "What I've talked and presented to the board, the CEOs of Super Rugby, the PUs [provincial unions], of Heartland... is around keeping an open mind in that space," Robertson said when asked about the selection policy in his first press conference.

    "I've not asked 'Can I please have someone come and play for us?', but keep an open mind where the game is at the moment.

    “It's moving quite quickly, as we know. There’s a lot (happening) on and off field, with players and decisions and contracting so I want to be a step ahead of it, so keep an open mind.

    “Decipher that.”

    Mo'unga is the biggest name overseas, with the flyhalf and Robertson having a long-standing relationship after winning a plethora of titles at the Crusaders.

    Robertson refused to pinpoint Mo'unga as the key player he wanted, stressing for the dialogue to begin.

    “I just want to keep an open mind so I can select the best players available to the All Blacks," he added.

    Stars Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane and Ardie Savea will be available for the Test period despite playing in Japan.

    Barrett signed a one-year deal to head overseas to Japan whilst Cane and Savea have taken sabbaticals.

    The All Blacks are in camp on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a squad of 22 players from the World Cup campaign taking part in testing before the Super Rugby season.

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    The All Blacks have the depth of talent to give uncapped players a go while the 'stars' are overseas filling their pension pots. The stars risk the replacements' play making them surplus to requirements. So, until the All Blacks start having a downturn in results, I think the NZRU are probably uniquely placed to not need to entertain this idea.

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