Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sonny Bill Williams off to Japan then returns to the NRL and Rugby League

If you haven't heard yet, Sonny Bill Williams is leaving the Chiefs to play rugby in Japan for a few months, then he's off to the NRL in Australia, where he will probably join the Sydney Roosters.

Hayley Holt of The Crowd Goes Wild was there for the announcement, where an emotional Williams, who now has the potential to earn over $2mil a year, spoke about the move. 

What are your thoughts on Williams turning his back on the All Black jersey, albeit temporarily?

Posted by Rugbydump at 12:20 pm | View Comments (53)

Viewing 53 comments

Anthony July 10, 2012 2:49 pm

I thought he was playing in France for Toulouse or Toulon ?

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kiwiinusa July 10, 2012 3:26 pm

I have always felt that he was a part time rugby player. His manager is in it for the money and SBW is going along for the ride. THe chiefs are doing so well because the are a team, working together for one thing to win the championship, not because of Sonny Bill. No I in team!

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Pretzel July 10, 2012 8:28 pm

...but there is "me"..

SBW is about the money, he has said in many an interview that he wanted to make lots of money...

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Tullowtank July 10, 2012 3:30 pm

It is all too easy to forget that Rugby is his career. He has to think about his future, his family's future and his financial security. He's only going briefly but he has an opportunity to try out a new lifestyle in Japan before again playing NRL, which he played before union. Players don't get long careers so they have to take every opportunity. I see nothing wrong with what he is doing. Who here can say that money doesn't influence where they work??

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Pretzel July 10, 2012 8:34 pm

But is international rugby a career? Is it the epitome of promotion in the office to partner? Can it really be likened to the partner of a firm? Or is it something entirely other worldly?

I'd always thought the club thing was a career of sorts, and that international rugby or barbarians or lions were that bit more.. Like entering into the heart warming, humbling, prestigious, love blah blah blah kind of stuff...

You pull on your club Jersey and you feel proud to be playing for them, but you know that it might not be forever (you might move house etc) you pull on a country Jersey, and that is forever. No other country will ever get you, and you won't ever get any other country...

I'm not saying he shouldn't...

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Bob July 10, 2012 6:06 pm

He will get the same amount of game time and get more money and different experience then he can come back for the 2015 world cup

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Ali July 10, 2012 7:22 pm

I always thought he was in it for the money He returned back to new zealand just in time for the world cup wins it then hes off again to whoever will offer the biggest pay packet then hes coming back for the next world cup. As great a team as nz are they still want to have a settled look going into 2015 and if sonny truly had nz in his heart he would stay and be part of building for 2015 instead of chasing money.

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Solomon July 10, 2012 10:14 pm

I don't get what those news reporters were going on about, because a great player named Brad Thorn did the same thing except there wasn't that much media attention surrounding that situation. SBW is a great player in both codes and I'm sure if he decides to go back to rugby union that people won't even notice he left. Good luck to you SBW!!!

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Eggman July 10, 2012 10:27 pm

I think it's a bit unfair saying it was only about the money. Surely it plays a part, and especially moving to Japan makes it difficult to argue against it. But even if the Japan part is for the money, so what? let him do what he feels he needs to be doing. Maybe you don't agree with it, but I can't really blame him trying to earn as much money as possible while he's able to.
And as far as his league return, I wouldnt say that's about money. He obviously loves both games and is trying to make the best out of it.

I never like him much to be honest, but I gained some respect for him this year simply by the way he played. He obviously was a crowd magnet and has huge talent. It's sad that he's leaving Union, though I'm happy that Australia and the Aussie Super teams won't have to face him anymore.. (not that Nonu is that much worse of an option ;))

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bobjenkins July 11, 2012 1:02 am

Everything is a factor. The Money, the handshake, the love for league. Maybe in the beginning he didnt know how much he will enjoy rugby, hence the emotions. The hand shake for SBW was largely about cleaning his name up in league as the guy who walked out on a team, and the involuntary consequence has become that he has to walk away from rugby, so a man's gotta to do a man's gotta do. BUT, another possible consequence is that NZ Kiwis retain the Rugby League world cup and SBW to become I am guessing the only player to win both the rugby world cup and the league world cup for NZ.

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Juggernauter July 11, 2012 1:31 am

He may do whatever he likes. I just really hope that if he ever goes back to NZ to play rugby he'll have to fight to be in the ABs and not just walk in. You see guys like Nonu, who have battled their way up the ranks and have improved tons thorugh the years as a player, and that's what you want from a rugger who's also an All Black.

Hopefully this will mean that Freuan finally gets his shot at the ABs.

Bye Sonny and good luck.

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Izak July 11, 2012 5:32 am

Coolest title: Chief Chief

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Javier Xavier July 11, 2012 7:00 am

No shame in doing whatever hell you want, challenging yourself, having a good time, and making as much money as possible during a short career, as long as you are not hurting anyone. I think the only ones hurt by this decision are those that hold old-fashioned ideas about sport, including rugby. Professionalism is here to stay, get over it.

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Guy July 11, 2012 8:12 am

I guess his Union skills will not improve by moving to Japan and League. And I don't think in his case, the money should be an issue; he must have made a fortune by now because he has allready had some lucrative deals.

Personally, I am not a big fan of him. But if he manages to move in directions that make him as a person the most happy, well, good for him! After all, in life, that should be what we all should be aiming for.

So: good luck Sonny! I don't think the All Blacks will suffer too much. New players will stand up to take your place quite soon. The All Blacks have allways delivered and I don't think that will change in my lifetime.

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funkiesol July 11, 2012 11:28 am

Sonny Bill William will find out how Rugby league is so Boring when he will routinely go through 5 tackles and a kick for 80 minutes, the game is so predictable, it doesn't make the brain work.
Compared to Rugby Union where there is so much variation in the game such as Rucks, Rawling maul, lineouts, Scrums, just to name a few, which keeps the Brain ticking wondering and trying to read whats the next game plan the opposition is going to take from this variation.
SBW will also find out what a big diferrence it makes when he runs into a stadium in an NRL comp and find the Stadium is half empty, he might be thinking he is playing in Planet Pluto.... and he will only be wishing he was back in super 15 playing in a jam pack stadium in South Africa, N.Z, or Australia, not to mention Rugby Union Test matches which is always a sell out.....he!he!he!he!...League is just an overated sport back by the NSW & Qld media thats what saving the game....he!he!he!

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Pretzel July 11, 2012 1:56 pm

Few things wrong with your comment. Firstly SBW grew up and made his professional status in the NRL, so he knows what league is like. Secondly "jam pack stadium" in Super 15? really? I'm not saying the competition is under subscribed but the stadiums generally are far from full, I suppose due to the costs of travel/tickets/times of games...

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Uncensored July 11, 2012 2:25 pm

Well, you've embarrassed yourself with that comment, haven't you.

A few things:

1) Sonny Bill Williams IS a Rugby League player. He played League all his life, played professionally in League for most his life. He's the model second-row forward for League players. SBW's natural athleticism and skills were developed playing League. He learnt to pass, run lines and fend in League, he learnt to tackle in League. He is a League player, he played in the NRL from 2004 - 2008 and represented the Kiwi several times, that's without going into his impressive junior background.

Sonny has played twice as many League games as Rugby games, he knows what he's getting and he will enjoy and thrive once more in League, a sport that will reward his natural athleticism and allow him to utilise it in the way of trade-mark shoulder charges. At first he will struggle with the intensity and speed of the game of League, given he's spent so long in a slower-paced sport, but once he gets fit again he will enjoy it and come into his own. SBW loves the game. Keep in mind he only went to Rugby for money and glory, not for passion or genuine interest in it.

2. Your argument about stadiums is also without sense, considering the average crowd for each is near enough the same. I believe Super Rugby has an average of 1-3 thousand more fans, depending on the year, and the difference is usually South African fans. If it was about attendance then SBW would be playing for the Brisbane Broncos, a team with an average attendance of 35k, which dwarfs anything in rugby. That he chose the Roosters shows that he does not care about how many people are in the stadium.

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Uncensored July 11, 2012 2:52 pm

And to make things worse, Rugby in NZ is in terrible state, financially and in terms of popularity. This despite hosting the World Cup

More and more Kiwi kids are playing League, more and more people are watching League. League is audaciously swooping down on rugby school kids and converting them to league, with the appeal of the Toyota Cup, a televised junior league that puts to shame the amateur Rugby Union set-up in NZ.

Rugby in NZ is at the top of a rollercoaster, just getting view of the bottom. School kids all over NZ are begging to play League, the only thing preventing a sporting revolution is school teachers refusing to make League part of the program. League has become "cool", it's about to be a cultural phenomena. Go to NZ and count all the people walking around in NRL shorts and fitted hats.

The establishment bias in NZ is slowing the decline of Rugby, and subsequent rise of League, but the cracks are evident. In 30-40 years NZ will look like the east coast of Australia as far as sport is concerned, the NRL will be on top. It might only take 20, who knows.

The worlds Rugby hotbed is faltering, and rugby fans, even NZ Rugby fans don't even realise it because they're so out of touch with the young. Give it a few years, NZ Rugby is going to be a sport that is known for being the sport of old white people, I bet you.

Rugby is losing in the Pacific. The IRB are going to lose Fiji to League very soon also. So many Fijians now play League that they can't find the fields to play on, the FNRL are struggling to cope with all the teams popping up. Rugby in Fiji has been in bad state for a while, Sevens has been the only thing keeping it thriving.

The Fijians, like the Maori and the Indigenous Australians, are learning that Rugby League is a sport that will celebrate and embrace their athletic talents. The Toyota Cup is 40% Polynesian already. NRL will be 50% by 2020.

50 years and League will dominate Rugby in Aus, PNG, NZ, Tonga, Fiji, etc

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Larry_Hook July 11, 2012 2:40 pm

His recent form will see the All Blacks miss him and could mean hes stunted his growth to become a really good union player. But this decision is based on a handshake agreement he made before he came back to union so he obviously didnt think he was going to enjoy playing union as much as he did. Where is his loyalty?! He knew since he walked out on his contract he would have his 5 year ban to play union then go back. So now sadly as much as hes a good athlete he will be remembered for having no loyalty and for chasing the money between codes. Personally I dont know why he spent so much time on and off the field changing his entire game to union and working and training really hard to know and play the game well if he knew he was going back to league? Maybe he will realise he likes union better and come back in 2014 for the 2015 world cup.... But by then him wasting his potential growing time in union there could be better players in his position and he may not get another shot at the black jersey. Just when the public were starting to like ya sbw...... Sonnys played more tests in the all black jersey than the kiwis jersey in less time....

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Uncensored July 11, 2012 3:11 pm

There was no handshake agreement. That is what SBW and his camp invented to make SBW look honourable. If they present SBW as honouring a handshake agreement then people think, "Oh, okay, he actually does have some loyalty, he doesn't really want to go back to League, but he shook a hand so he has to". Honourable SBW going back to the nonsense game of mungo ball, lol.

SBW is bored of Rugby. Write it down, make note of this comment. I'm telling you that IF he plays well enough in 2013 to be in the run in for the Kiwis that you aren't going to see him in NZ Rugby again. You lot have a very high opinion of your game, and don't seem to understand what NRL boys like SBW actually think of it.

The Bill will sign a 1 year NRL contract, but plans to return to League for good should things go his way. The reason he's going 1 year is because there are doubts within the SBW camp that he'll be good enough, quick enough, and that his body can cope with the physical battering that League presents. It's a matter of apprehension. If SBW hits form you'll never see him playing Rugby(outside of Japan) again. If he can't keep up with the intensity and skill for whatever reason, then he'll be back in Rugby.

Mentally he wants out of NZ Rugby and back into League. In 2013 the plan is he will sign another NRL contract on the back of strong form, and the contract will enable him to play some Rugby in Japan, and Japan only, again.

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Juggernauter July 11, 2012 10:45 pm

Ok league boys if you are coming here to bitch you may as well get the f*ck out.

Facts: League is important in one place: 2 states in Australia. The League World Cup is small and only strong competitors are Australia and New Zealand (Maybe GB hangs in there). Your sport isn't better or worst than ours, it's just different.

So if you wanna comment on league I suggest you go to a league forum.

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Jon July 12, 2012 12:38 am

I kind of agree.
I like both sports (I grew up playing both).
I get annoyed when people go too far either way.
Union fan or league fans who turn it into some pissing contest about which sport is better are just annoying.
It's obviously completely subjective.

Personally I don't see why you can't just enjoy both. I prefer union myself, just because I like the variance of the set pieces and rucking and different styles of play. But I still love league, and the sheer intensity and skill of that code.

SBW is first and foremost a league player though, who went to union. He is more suited to league, where he will be rewarded for his ability to put on a great shoulder charge, not punished. His offloading will not be as amazing to people though, in the NRL that kind of offloading is expected of players.
And he'll pack out stadiums, at least in his first season. funkiesol may not realize it, but he'll get a much wider viewing audience in the NRL than Super rugby. NRL games average well over a million people watching per game, big games get upwards of three or four million viewers. That's more than alot of union internationals. That will no doubt help his sponsorship, and there's no doubt that he wants as much money as possible (and who the hell doesn't, i know I do).

Good on him. The All Blacks will be fine without him, and he may well come back in time for the 2015 WC.

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Guy July 12, 2012 8:35 am

Completely agree with Juggernauter and Jon: the discussion is a non-issue. It's just a matter of taste. It's like saying table-tennis is a worse sport because there are less people in the stands than soccer of rugby...?????

Personally I'll watch anything: Union, League, Sevens, Beach, hell in this rugby-starved part of Europe I have even come to enjoy women's rugby.

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Uncensored July 12, 2012 9:13 am

That's debatable, domestically League is a bigger sport in England than Rugby Union. League is also the number 1 sport in PNG. It's en-route to overtake Rugby Union in Fiji(despite what funkiesol says). Eventually, and that's the keyword, it will be bigger than Rugby in NZ by almost every measure. At the moment tv ratings and merchandise sold are the only strong suite, but once the NZ schools stop preventing the creation of League teams and the NRL puts another team or two in NZ then the sport will well and truly flourish.

As an avid viewer both codes I can comment wherever I like, and will. Considering that this is a story pertaining to League I don't think it's out of order to, much to the disgust of some people, speak about League.

The issue of strong competitors in League is a tricky one and one that people who have not played or experienced League will fail to understand. League is not like Rugby, where a second rate team can make a scoreline close on effort and a few penalty kicks. In League if there is a notable gulf in class you cannot miss it. A Tier 1 team will put a bucket of tries on a Tier 2 or Tier 3 nation. In Rugby, by design of the game, teams are more likely to kick and thus the superior team will play negative, as will the inferior team, which usually results in a flattering scoreline for the lesser team.

Even between Tier 1 nations differences in class translate to big margins on the scoreboard. You only have to look at England (Not GB, GB doesn't exist) coming up against Australia in recent years, the scoreline is very unflattering.

You don't really see Australia(England) getting blown off the park against the All Blacks(Kangaroos) in Rugby in much the same way, because of differences in the game.

If you don't want to comment on League I suggest you find a post that isn't about League. That's just my opinion.

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breakaway July 13, 2012 12:02 pm

"domestically League is a bigger sport in England than Rugby Union."
There are at least ten times more registered Union players (approx 2,500,000) in England than League players (approx 250,000), that's from Wikipedia, but in Feb this year the Eng RFL was saying they had just broken the 100,000 mark, so take your pick.
I watch a lot of League and often enjoy it, but it's clear to me that the Aust domestic game is much superior to the Eng game and this difference is reflected in the international scores. But it says nothing about the differences between Union and League, just as NZ beating Ireland 60–0 in Union says nothing about Union vs League either. Your "argument" is irrelevant.
League's #1 in PNG, wow!
If you really are an "avid viewer of both codes" then why don't you just relax and enjoy, all these baseless assertions and wishful thinking seem so pointless.

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funkiesol July 12, 2012 2:09 am

@Uncensored you are dum as you come, all your hoolabaloo about league is just so nonsensical.
80 minutes of 5 tackles and a kick as emptied the stadium of nearly every NRL competition, there is no variation in the game of rugby league compared to Rugby Union so come on what you talking about? Rugby Union Jam pack stadiums in super 15 & Test Matches because there is more variation in the game such as scrums, lineouts, rawling mauls Rucks etc and thats what the spectators love to see...and that is why SBW doesn't wanna leave Rugby Union.... but he has too, because of a handsake that was done couple of years ago with a Rugby league CEO and it became a verbal contract....he!he!he!....SBW is already missing his Rugby Union Game!
Here you come uncencored, talking about Rugby league as if the best game in the world, how dum are you? all you have to do is flick on a T.v & watch an NRL game and you see the stadium is half empty sometime you see a man & his Dog watching the game in the stadium, thats fact mate you can't hide that.
Rugby league in Fiji is such a small fish, Fijians have realise it won't put bread & butter on their table if they keep on pursuing that path, don't know where you get your facts from about Rugby union in N.Z when the game as grown 100 hundred fold in N.Z and providing a career path for all the young and up comming rugby players in N.Z to play in Europe, Japan , USA, Britain etc.
Now Rugby 7s is on the Horizon will be played in the 2016 Olympics and this will just blow Rugby league out of the water once and for all, Rugby League is a dying game and can't and won't be able to compete with Rugby Union because its an off shoot of Rugby union in the first place and league game is more backs oriented of Rugby Union.
You can always call Rugby league as half of Rugby Union played in 80 minutes.
Who wants to sit and watch 80 minutes of 5 tackle and a kick? Booooooring!

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jon July 12, 2012 2:59 am

funkiesol, just stop.
You and uncensored are as bad as each other.

Just so you know, rugby league has never been more popular in Australia and NZ. The NRL are about to sing a $1 billion tv deal.
The attendance for the NRL last year was :
3,464,207 (total) 17,235 (per match)

For Super Rugby it was :
2,430,624 (total) 19,445 (per match)

Not a big difference there. If you took out the South African crowds, the NRL would have higher average attendances.

In terms of tv viewing figures, the NRL is much more popular than union in Aus and NZ. Again, super rugby is bolstered by large South African attendance figures. But even with those less people on average watch Super Rugby than NRL.

All this is irrelevant. If you judge a sport just by attendance and viewing figures, soccer wins every time. But that would be stupid, so don't do it.

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funkiesol July 12, 2012 3:49 am

Thanks Jon, thats what the Stats say, but the NRL game shown on the T.V show the stadium is half empty or a quater full.
We can't rely on the those stats because the NRL comp has more game played than super 15, NRL season is longer from March to October and super 15 is played from March to July.
So NRL has 4 extra month to its advantage to expose its game but yet it still can't fill up its statdium in most of its game.

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funkiesol July 12, 2012 3:53 am

Thanks Jon, thats what the Stats say, but the NRL game shown on the T.V show the stadium is half empty or a quater full.
We can't rely on the those stats because the NRL comp has more game played than super 15, NRL season is longer from March to October and super 15 is played from March to July.
So NRL has 4 extra month to its advantage to expose its game but yet it still can't fill up its statdium in most of its game.

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Uncensored July 12, 2012 8:51 am

Erm, are you kidding? The less games a competition has, theoretically, the higher their average attendance should be. NRL teams have double the amount of home games as Super Rugby teams. In theory if you reduced the NRL season to 18 games the average would rise, and if you stretched Super Rugby to 24 games the average would fall.

That's theoretically of course, nobody can say for definite. What you can say is that your theory doesn't even make sense on paper.

As far as stadiums go, that's your perception, and like EVERYTHING else you've said, you're wrong.

Interesting fact, I know this will annoy you. State of Origin, the annual 3 game series, turns over more profit than an entire season of Australian super rugby.

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funkiesol July 12, 2012 3:56 am

Thanks Jon, thats what the Stats say, but the NRL game shown on the T.V show the stadium is half empty or a quater full it tells a diferrent story cameras don't lie.
We can't rely on the those stats because the NRL comp has more game played than super 15, NRL season is longer from March to October and super 15 is played from March to July.
So NRL has 4 extra month to its advantage to expose its game but yet it still can't fill up its statdium in most of its game.

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Jon July 12, 2012 4:03 am

So? Neither can many Super rugby games?
What difference does it make if you can see empty seats on your tv?
Who cares? I see empty seats at most Super rugby games and most NRL games. It doesn't matter. It's irrelevant. Stop trolling.

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paimoe July 12, 2012 3:06 pm

Man, I'm just glad the thing is done. Tired of all the media around it.

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Hendogo July 13, 2012 7:58 am

I'm all for him making more money,hell go for it young man. That is why rugby is a joke compared to other pro sports. In America top football players get30-96 million dollars. I hate to say it, but rugby needs more advertising during games, and better TV deals to get these guys more cash to stay around.

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Pretzel July 13, 2012 3:20 pm

I wholeheartedly disagree....

It's not as if Rugby Union is dying as such... Although league may be taking over in some places, it's bound to be on a cycle...

Consider how many amateur clubs there are, and consider how many of those players would love to pick up a REAL club jersey and play, and then from there pick up an international jersey.... I don't think the sport needs a herd of walking "Douche mascots" advertising feminine care everytime there is a break in play...

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Morgan July 13, 2012 1:11 pm

SB making the most of his time playing professional sport is not really for anyone to get annoyed with. He is doing absolutely nothing wrong and I’m sure that any rugby player with his attributes would do the same.
There have been a lot of comments about what it is to be an All Black and putting the jersey on, which is interesting.
Here goes; I don’t think it as much a big deal to be an All Black as it is for other players in other countries to play for their national side. The reason for this is that for decades, `New Zealand’ in terms of rugby should have been called `New Zealand and a collection of the best players from the South Pacific’. There is a national selection culture that creams the top of the pool of the surrounding nations players and then sticks a NZ jersey on them, claims them as their own voila, produces a hybrid super team..
Every New Zealand side in recent history is littered with a collection of players who are far more eligible to play for other countries other than NZ. So, deep down I think it lessens the overall worth of that team. I know that SB is an out and out New Zealander, but he is playing in a professional arena that in New Zealand is very much about getting the best team first and then patriotism second.
Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that. Who would blame any player, given the opportunity, not to play and be paid at the highest level available to them? Not me. I also completely concede that lots of other nations have began to follow on with their own selections, not least England and Australia. But look at South Africa, France, Argentina, Wales. They are all sides with out and out countryman playing for them. So coming full circle; the SB and loyalty / playing for your country debate is one where the NZ culture of the professional rugby player doing what’s best for him first, country second, will always come and bite them in the arse every now and again.

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Pretzel July 13, 2012 3:27 pm

Wales...Almost.. Toby Faletau, but at least he's been in Wales since the age of 7... Didn't realise the guy was so young... 21 years old 6ft 2 and 110kg's... F'in Pacific Islanders have definitely got the best physiques to build on...

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breakaway July 14, 2012 3:38 am

Rubbish. I'm not going to do your research for you but here are some stats off the top of my head. The NZ team for the first test against Ireland had one player not born in NZ, Franks who was born in Aust. It had, I believe, three players of PI descent, all born in NZ. If you are born and raised in a country how can you be "far more eligible" to play for another one. Of the scattering of overseas born players in AB sides in recent times they almost all went to NZ as schoolkids or younger. Like a lot of people you are ignorant of the nature of the longstanding traditional family links between NZ and other PI nations. Auckland alone has about 200,000 people of PI descent. In the Samoan WC squad of 2003, 17 were born in NZ, in 2007 about 12.
And as pretzel points out the claims of the "purity" of other teams on this subject are often dead wrong, the Welsh 2007 WC squad had at least six players not born in Wales including NZer Sonny Parker, and today's Toby Foletau was born in Tonga. So it's feasible that a current NZ side could play against a current Welsh side and the Welsh have the only Pacific Island born player!
Just as ludicrous is your assertion that those who play for the All Blacks don't think it's such a big deal as in other countries. You have to be joking. No one who knows anything about NZ rugby and society could ever say that, your entire credibility is lost on that comment alone.

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Morgan July 14, 2012 2:25 pm

You are right to a large degree and I'm sorry for my ignorance in regards to the NZ/PI culture. It could just be the green eyed monster talking; in terms of Islanders who play rugby, England has Jersey and The Isle of Wight, not really an advantageous gene pool.
However, it can not be totally dissaputed that the NZ team does not benefit both directly and indirectly from a large group of PI players plying their trade in NZ over their home country. That can be in the form of domestic competition, 7's teams, schoolboy rugby with scholarships. Why is it that internationally Samoan and Figian sides are nowhere near where they should be when we all largely agree that players of PI heritage are the worlds best players?
Awful spelling begins; I'm not just talking about the likes of rockocoko,siviatui, mils etc, it's a case of PI players being a massive part of what makes the NZ team successful.
I completely concede that I went over the top in comment 1 but still stand by my first comment that "new Zealand & pacific islands" would be a more honest team name. When we do it, it's named "lions".

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breakaway July 15, 2012 1:32 am

I appreciate your response Morgan. A couple of points though.
"new Zealand & pacific islands"
When a squad is selected from all the players eligible to play for the four unions (Eng/Ire/Scot/Wales), no matter where they were born, you and the rest of us call them the Lions. When a squad is selected from all the players eligible to play for New Zealand, no matter where they were born, we all call them the NZ All Blacks. I don't see the difference. Especially bearing in mind that most of the players of PI lineage who make the All Blacks (and there are not nearly as many as some people think) were either born in NZ or went there as two year-olds (Mils Muliaina) or schoolkids. Players like Mils grew up in NZ, learned their rugby there and are New Zealanders.
When a squad is selected from all the players eligible for England, no matter where they were born, we don't call them England & Others, and let's face it there are plenty of 'others' in recent Eng squads.
I'm sure the make-up of the recent AB side I mentioned might surprise some people, and if Ben Franks' brother Owen had been selected instead, there would have been no player in that side born outside NZ.
It's also worth saying that technically NZ itself is also a Pacific Island group and hundreds of thousands of folk of polynesian and melanesian etc lineage live there, consider themselves NZers and make a huge contribution to the country's society and culture generally. It irrational to suggest that their eligibility to play for their country is questionable.

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Pretzel July 15, 2012 10:36 pm

@Breakaway, A couple points, whilst I actually agree with most of what you HAVE said, a couple bits that stuck out more in your most recent post is:

"When a squad is selected from all the players eligible to play for the four unions (Eng/Ire/Scot/Wales), no matter where they were born, you and the rest of us call them the Lions. When a squad is selected from all the players eligible to play for New Zealand, no matter where they were born, we all call them the NZ All Blacks."

The problem in theory with what you just said is that the Lions is more of a "Dream XV" "Prestigious" "select club" etc etc team, and whilst everyone seems to get on board with the tours and watch them, it is not an ideal selection of players, and has more of a Baa baa's feel about it rather than an international team, WHEREAS, the NZ team is just that, it is a representation of New Zealand, and is not really the "All Blacks" that is a nick name, much like the springbok's... We're talking about countries...

So it's sort of apples, and oranges when the Lions and the rest of the world is concerned.

However I understand what you're saying on the face value of things and don't disagree with it.

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breakaway July 16, 2012 12:54 am

I understand what you're saying pretzel but it was Morgan who made the comparison between the ABs and the Lions. I was just restating that the NZ side is selected from players legitimately eligible to play for their country, NZ. So there is no need to change or add on to their name. Of course I appreciate that Morgan's "NZ & PI" idea was only to make a point, I just disagree with the point.

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Pretzel July 16, 2012 1:46 am

@Breakaway, ah sorry I missed Morgan's bit on the Lions. There are so many players that are "legitimately" allowed to play for any country, I mean even look at England and the strong English names in it: Manu Tuilagi, Moritz Botha... I think the whole "NZ has a pick of everywhere" argument is very old and has surely been put to bed...

I think its an envious argument...

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Jon July 16, 2012 2:15 am

Pretzel, Tom Court.
To be fair actually he hasn't been selected for a while, and Ireland are actually one of the nations least likely to select overseas born players.
It's perhaps unfair to bring them into this conversation (although they have been eying a couple South Africans recently).

One things about this is that some countries have a large number of immigrants, from rugby playing nations. So in Australia for example, 20% of the current population wasn't born in Australia. It is a country which is built on immigration, and that is ongoing. So you will always have people born overseas representing the country in various ways. Ireland doesn't have an extensive history of immigration (more on of emigration) and is less likely to have foreign born players. They have recently had alot of immigrants, particularly from Eastern Europe, but those aren't really rugby playing peoples.

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Jon July 16, 2012 12:48 am

Morgan, you are way off mate.
The issue here, as I see it, is that Europeans see Islanders playing for NZ (or Aus) and assume that they must be from the Islands.
They don't realise how ignorant they are of the demographic make up of Australia and NZ.

Here's a few things to think over :
1) Auckland has more Samoans in it than any other city in the world. There are more people of Samoan descent in this NZ city than any other city in the world.
2) Of the players most recently selected for NZ vs Ireland, not a single one was born outside NZ. Every single player was home grown, born in NZ, including guys like Savea and Nonu.
3) Samoa has long selected teams which have a huge number of NZ born players. In 2007 more than half their team was born in NZ. At 2011, it was the same, about 50% of their team was NZ born. Many Fijians and Tongans are also NZ born.
4) In fact NZ exports more players to other teams at WCs than any other country. In 2007 for example, they had 27 ex-pats in other teams. The next most was South Africa with 16 ex-pats. In 2011 it was a similar story.
5) Many of the guys that others criticize NZ for stealing are in fact home grown. The same is true for Australia. Polotau-Nau and Palu? Both born in Sydney. Just because a guy has an Islander name and is of islander descent does not mean he was born in the Islands, any more than you can assume a black man was born in Africa or a white man in Europe.
6) There have been large Islander communities in NZ and Australia for many decades. Since the 1800s there have been successive waves of immigration from the Islands to NZ and Aus, usually for economic reasons. In Australia, for example, there has been a very large Islander community in Queensland for well over a century and a half. They came (some were actually Shanghaied) to work on the cane fields.

So the idea that NZ (which again, currently has 0 Island born players) should be NZ and the Pacific Islands is extremely patronizing. Very ignorant.

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Jon July 16, 2012 12:59 am

Quick correction, one player was born outside NZ. Franks, who was born in Australia, but moved back to NZ with his NZ born parents as a toddler.

By the way, as to your assertion that Wales (for example) has no foreign born players, that's simply not true.
You realise that they have many English born players? A Tongan? A South African (Evans)? That they recently had Aussies and Kiwis in their team?
That Scotland and Ireland both have Aussies in their squads currently? That England has Boers, Kenyans, NZers, Samoans etc.

The idea that NZ steals p-layers from the Silands is absurd. inf act they export more players to other national teams than any other country.

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Pretzel July 16, 2012 1:43 am

@Jon, Ireland has an Aussie? Who?

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dave July 13, 2012 7:33 pm

fuck going to japan, that the most radioactive place in the world and that knowledge is flowered up so much

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Lucius July 14, 2012 11:47 pm

Q: "What are your thoughts on Williams turning his back on the All Black jersey, albeit temporarily?"
A: I hope All Blacks will replace this guy ASAP. I'm italian but the AB jersey deserves respect and a player who like to play first, not make money...

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Izzy July 15, 2012 3:47 am

Good on sonny for doing whats best for him, if i had a better offer i would take it aswell, but going back to league is taking a backward step in my opinion. I enjoy watching the warriors and the state of origin but League is extremely small time compared to union, league fans love to come up with all these stats about how league is taking over etc but everyone knows its far from the truth and rugby is NOT dying in NZ, League is only big in Auckland mainly, Union is growing faster worldwide than it ever has before and now with sevens in the olympics from 2016 its only gonna get bigger and bigger.

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nufz July 16, 2012 11:20 am

personally I think leages a bit boring mostly but will watch SBW for a game or two.

To those that say he's just after money well, he gave away 100k of his own to the Chch earthquake fund.

If he does ever want to play/live in NZ again he would be more than welcome back in Canterbury.

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