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The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Cookie (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 13:01
Harlequins tie-up shows the All Blacks accept money trumps loyalty

As Eddie Jones ponders this week such deep problems as who he is going to pick, or who is going to help fix his issues at the breakdown, or who will be fit, consider the rather different challenge faced by his opposite man in New Zealand. Steve Hansen’s problem is not so much whom to pick, but who is left to be selected.

That may sound like a somewhat contrived opening to a column trying to tweak your interest in today’s unlikely mission, which is to generate some sympathy for the world champions. However, in New Zealand they have sleepwalked rather too quickly into their present crisis, so we may as well wake up to it here too.

On Friday last week, this newspaper delivered the proof that the All Blacks had officially woken up. Our story was about Harlequins and an unprecedented agreement with New Zealand that “strategically linked” the two “both on the field and behind the scenes”.

A different story, in the Kiwi media on Sunday, was very much on the same subject: New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is to host a summit with leading stakeholders to deal with the growing threat of player drain. According to the Herald on Sunday, the options likely to be considered are tax breaks for players and, in what would be a huge policy retreat, selecting players who are at overseas clubs for the All Blacks.

The Kiwi crisis is player retention. If Lima Sopoaga, for instance, is being offered about four times his salary at home to join Wasps, then he is going to be hard to stop. If Bristol are offering Charles Piutau the opportunity to become the best-paid player in the world, then he is unlikely to gamble on earning, maybe at best, three times less by going home.

Piutau was the game-changer. Five months before the 2015 World Cup, he announced that he was to leave New Zealand the following year to join Ulster. NZR didn’t think he would go. It didn’t believe that a young man would forfeit his All Black future in this way. It responded by leaving him out of the World Cup squad. That was a warning to others. It didn’t work.

It failed so spectacularly that the argument over leaving New Zealand has now changed. Increasingly, players in their prime are leaving home to pursue once-in-a-lifetime salaries abroad. With Piutau, the debate was: how can you turn your back on a future with the All Blacks? Now it is: how can you turn your back on the kind of money that could change your — and your family’s — life. Once emotion and loyalty start to fade from the debate, the All Blacks start losing it.

The problem is that they haven’t got the finance to fight it. No, they haven’t yet had a first-choice All Black pack up and go, but that is largely because of the pay structure. The best All Blacks are paid well. With endorsements and add-ons, Beauden Barrett, for instance, will earn at best the equivalent of £750,000 a year. He could still earn more abroad but not double; not quite 50 per cent more.

Below the top players, though, there is a significant drop-off. Sopoaga, the reserve All Blacks No 10, would earn one third the amount that Barrett does, maybe less, at home. And more than him abroad. Not such a hard decision.

Of course, this is no different to the problems long faced by Australia and South Africa. It was just that the All Blacks seemed bulletproof and the loyalty defence has now been shot down. It is also a further, unequivocal demonstration of the direction of travel in the game. Rugby’s economics in the northern hemisphere are trumping those in the south. Clubs in England and France are destabilising the international game. You may love your club rugby, but do you love it that much?

Will the All Blacks’ strategic link with Harlequins now save the day? I have my hopes and my doubts.

The deal has already lurched into fast-forward. Nick Evans, the Harlequins attack coach, has already landed in Wellington for a fortnight’s learning experience with Wayne Smith and the Hurricanes. That is brilliant for Harlequins.

Yet will the All Blacks be able to control their player drain by using Harlequins as a home from home where their players can earn big for two years on the understanding that they will then return to New Zealand?

It is the market that now makes players’ decisions. If the All Blacks and Harlequins make some kind of a joint contract offer to a player and it is still being dwarfed by Toulon, for instance, then presumably Toulon still win.

You can view this through two eyes or one. The one-eyed can see All Black strength being gradually whittled away — and regard that as a cause for celebration. The broader view shows international rugby being increasingly undermined; that is what the All Blacks-Harlequins deal is about — changing direction.

For a vision of the All Blacks’ future, look at the past of the West Indies cricket team. And ask yourself if that is what you really want.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Bolly-Quin (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 13:39
Quote:
Cookie
For a vision of the All Blacks’ future, look at the past of the West Indies cricket team. And ask yourself if that is what you really want.

The economics of the WI are a little different to that in NZ, surely?

If NZ RU let its rugby followed the course that WI Cricket did (attracted to a fraudulent foreign backer and loses to baseball in US? it would surely be it's own fault.

My (bad?) lunchtime brain dump and I might be missing something...

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
ChipsteadQuin (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 14:27
NZRU 1st world problems .. they seem to have a reasonable production line so wont be short of back up , and could also solve it in a heartbeat by dropping the no 'playing abroad' rule.

Hard to see a downside for us , hopefully playing and coaching cooperation will benefit both ways, having NEv working with the Hurricanes will be immense for his advancement in a coaching capacity

Im only surprised that they AVP and RFU seemed to have waved this on without a thought .

It would be worth a few bob to get Sam Cane , Aaron Smith and Damian McKenzie as cover for the AI's (Sm42)..

( and they wouldn't be available to play against England !- win win )



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/03/2018 15:42 by ChipsteadQuin.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
DOK. (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 16:52
OK - well it seems to me then that in future we would try to make our 2 marquee players senior All Blacks. If we're offering them say £300 thou, and NZRU are chucking in an extra £150 thou, then we get top notch players for "low" price. They get European experience (and learn what losing is like) while we get £450 thou worth of skills we couldn't otherwise afford. They are still All Blacks, they presumably get to play tests, so we'd have to work round that.

If we buy an Australian/South African marquee player, we get the £300 thou worth of skills for £300 thou, not nearly such a good deal.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
talkshowhost86 (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 17:04
Quote:
DOK
OK - well it seems to me then that in future we would try to make our 2 marquee players senior All Blacks. If we're offering them say £300 thou, and NZRU are chucking in an extra £150 thou, then we get top notch players for "low" price. They get European experience (and learn what losing is like) while we get £450 thou worth of skills we couldn't otherwise afford. They are still All Blacks, they presumably get to play tests, so we'd have to work round that.
If we buy an Australian/South African marquee player, we get the £300 thou worth of skills for £300 thou, not nearly such a good deal.

Can you have two 'overseas' marquee players?

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Mayor West (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 17:13
When and how long is their "four nations" ? With the AIs how much of the season would that be without potential AB superstars? Would it still be cost effective for us? If we get a Kev type player for a whole season for 300k, is that better than an AB for half a season for the same. Or is it a bit of a bums on seats thing for the club. I'm excited about being able to watch the best in the world anyway.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Fearless Fred (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 18:23
The Rugby Championship typically runs mid August through to the beginning of October, so I would expect any player coming to us wouldn't feature until after the first couple of rounds of European games is played. After that you're into the AIs, so I would hope that their sabbatical means they aren't picked for those...

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
QuinAlan (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 19:23
If we get an All Black for £300 thou but as DOK says the NZRU are paying him £150 thou on top. How is that accounted for Salary Cap purposes..?? Isnt this what we were calling out Saracens for??

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Stooperman (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 20:11
Quote:
QuinAlan
If we get an All Black for £300 thou but as DOK says the NZRU are paying him £150 thou on top. How is that accounted for Salary Cap purposes..?? Isnt this what we were calling out Saracens for??
Tough on them, they cheated - threatened to sue and effectively pulled the house down around everyones' ears. Nice to see we have found a creative way of competing with their megabucks.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
DOK. (IP Logged)
07 March, 2018 20:50
As I understand it you can pay your marquee players what you like, how you like. They are outside the salary cap, full stop.

Any one come in under the salary cap, well that would have to be negotiated. A player/coach for example, all his salary counts under the cap (this is from the days when everyone on the Saracens team was a player/coach. They got buckets of money for coaching and sod all for playing and claimed just the playing part counted towards the cap. So the rules were changed). I would think a player being paid by Harlequins and NZRU would probably be the same.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Scaramouche (IP Logged)
08 March, 2018 10:09
And its not just about staying under the cap, its about what we can actually afford to pay for top players.



If at first you don't succeed, Try, Try and Try again.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
southquin (IP Logged)
08 March, 2018 11:05
"If Bristol are offering Charles Piutau the opportunity to become the best-paid player in the world, then he is unlikely to gamble on earning, maybe at best, three times less by going home."

Doesn't this suggest Charles would be paying double what his Bristol salary will be to play in NZ. Those Kiwi match subs are a bit steep.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Brown Bottle (IP Logged)
08 March, 2018 13:35
Quote:
I would think a player being paid by Harlequins and NZRU would probably be the same.

Why would they be different from a player being paid by Harlequins and the RFU?



BB

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
D-Quins (IP Logged)
08 March, 2018 19:12
My guess is that the rules will be changed so that you can play for the AB if you are in country or with our Partner clubs. I am assuming that a top 14 partner will be announced in the future so that they can have more player away from NZ that still qualify.

I can't see them giving a blanket we will pick you if you don't play in NZ as they will end up like SA with all the best players not playing at home

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
RodneyRegis (IP Logged)
08 March, 2018 20:07
Quote:
southquin
"If Bristol are offering Charles Piutau the opportunity to become the best-paid player in the world, then he is unlikely to gamble on earning, maybe at best, three times less by going home."
Doesn't this suggest Charles would be paying double what his Bristol salary will be to play in NZ. Those Kiwi match subs are a bit steep.

No?

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
DOK. (IP Logged)
12 March, 2018 12:52

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Scaramouche (IP Logged)
17 March, 2018 08:45
Top man. Level headed and constructive stuff.



If at first you don't succeed, Try, Try and Try again.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Samquin (IP Logged)
28 March, 2018 20:31
Another article on the partnership from ESPN.

[www.espn.com.au]

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Scaramouche (IP Logged)
29 March, 2018 00:09
Quote:
Samquin
Another article on the partnership from ESPN.
[www.espn.com.au]

So they reckon all we are going to get is a bunch of crocked kiwis using us for rehab. Nice.



If at first you don't succeed, Try, Try and Try again.

 
Re: The Times' Very Interesting Early View Of NZ Partnership
Bolly-Quin (IP Logged)
02 April, 2018 12:24
Sound familiar?

Quote:
Fitzpatrick's tuppence worth
"They've had a lot of injuries...


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