NZRU urged to pick overseas players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZRU urged to pick overseas players

15/06/2008 09:43:06 AM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) should consider picking overseas-based players for the All Blacks, former captain Sean Fitzpatrick says.

The NZRU's selection policy is to pick players contracted to them and playing in New Zealand, though they have said they would allow players to take up short-term contracts with overseas clubs and return to the All Blacks on a case-by-case basis.

"In the end .... selecting our overseas players is inevitable," Fitzpatrick told Auckland's Herald on Sunday newspaper.

"We have to start selecting from the overseas players' base, simply because there are now so many of them and because we have to take care that we don't spiral into a culture of loss."

Flyhalf Daniel Carter and captain Richie McCaw have re-signed with the NZRU until the 2011 World Cup but have sabbatical clauses in their contracts.

Carter is expected to take up a six-month contract with a French club at the end of the grand slam tour later this year.

"I was never a fan of opening up the doors before but I think the sabbatical given to Dan Carter and Richie McCaw could open up a can of worms," Fitzpatrick said.

"Allowing those doors to open will also safeguard New Zealand player stocks better than sabbaticals."

Fitzpatrick, however, said the NZRU should abandon their domestic-only policy and consider the multitude of players plying their trade in Europe and Japan.

The All Blacks, who beat England 37-20 at Eden Park on Saturday, have had 11 players either leave New Zealand for overseas clubs or retire since the World Cup last year.

The 92-Test hooker said his biggest concern was diluting the player pool in New Zealand and lowering the standards in the Super 14 and domestic provincial competition.

"It isn't as if our franchise or provincial rugby would suffer a great deal more than it is already," the 45-year-old added.

"The standard has already dropped and we are now risking such a lack of depth in the All Blacks that we risk losing.

"And I think that is the last thing the game needs in New Zealand and globally."

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