Wednesday, 25 July 2007

how luke mccalister got sold on sale

There has been a lot written in the last couple of days about Luke McAlister signing up for a two year deal with Sale in England. A lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from the New Zealand public and media that is...

The guy is too young. He is only twenty three. He'll never reach his potential. He has ruined his rugby playing chances. He is selfish and is too worried about the the money. He has devalued the All Black jersey. Why would anyone want to go and live in Manchester anyway. The weather is horrible in Manchester. Blah blah blah.

I do think Luke McAlister is a wonderful player; in a kind of Carlos Spencer way, that is. All those chip kicks and little searing runs (when he probably should have passed because there was an overlap). When the team is on song, so is he. But when they’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle, you probably won’t see him making such a clean break towards the banks for safety. He can definitely be spectacular but sometimes I think he lacks a bit of substance and is a bit too flashy. I still wish him luck and am surprised that anyone would begrudge him an OE.

But why the fuss about McAlister in the first place? Wouldn’t a bigger song and dance have been more appropriate for the true rock of this All Black team in the form of Carl Hayman. Instead, we get nothing. Just a resigned shrug of the shoulders and ‘oh well, there was nothing we could do’ by the NZRFU ‘we offered him a farm but he wanted to go Newcastle’. It seems to me strange that while we all seem to have been mourning the loss of McAlister for the last couple of months - we've let a true gem sure slip through our fingers.

And Manchester? Well it is an awesome city and anyone that writes otherwise has obviously never been there. It knocks the socks off Auckland for a start.


Matt Rowley said...

Hey Ferdy - thanks for the favourites link. There's one back 'atcha as long as you dont mention last Saturday's game....
Matt (Green and Gold Rugby)

Nursedude said...

I think the unpleasant truth for Southern Hemisphere rugby fans is that European clubs are throwing around more money to get top talent. It's no longer going to be a Kiwi player like Carlos Spencer, who maybe getting a little longer in the tooth; they are going to continue to wave Euros at talented younger players-and let's face it, New Zealand is a land blessed with young talent(Watching the U-19 world cup showcased some great young talent). I think over time, the old rule of an all black having to play in NZ or Super 14 is going to change, otherwise to omit young talent just because they are playing in Europe will be the rugby equivilant of cutting of their nose to spite their face.

Ferdy said...

Hi Nursedude. I agree that with European clubs throwing the money around at our talent, we have some worries on our hands. However, like the NZRFU, I believe that while NZ players are signed up to an English club they should not be eligible to play for the ABs.

The main reason is that the English clubs would never in a blue moon during their club competition release a player to go and play for the All Blacks on the other side of the world, even if the NZRFU lightened their laws and took away central contracting. Heck – the English clubs won’t even release their own English players half the time for the national squad, let alone the Samoans, Fijians, Italians and Argentineans when they want to go and play for their respective test teams.

For all its wonderful passion and vibrant crowd support, European (and mainly English) club rugby is run by some very greedy people who don’t care for the international game at all. All they are concerned with is the size of their pay check at the end of the week and whether their beloved team will be relegated (and their jobs). Nothing else matters. As a result, the greed of these English clubs mean they have brought their own international team to its knees. They haven’t done much else for their rugby at the grass roots level either: by buying aging players from abroad to come into teams instead of fostering the young talent coming through to flourish they help make their competition stodgy and undynamic.

If the ABs got rid of central contracting we would see an even greater exodus to the Northern Hemisphere, but it would be done on false pretences, because no matter whether these players thought they would be released by the clubs to play for the ABs, I know and you know that this just wouldn’t be the case.

It will be interesting to see how the game develops in the next few years. There is only so much time before loyalty loses out to money. That is the way of the world we live in. The puzzle is trying to figure out a way to counter this in the coming years. That will be the fun part.

Nursedude said...

It's kind of weird how things change, because back in the 80's, it was the Southern Hemisphere that really changed the financial situation forever in rugby Union by bringing in professionalism and the Super 10. Now the English clubs want to change the complexion of the game with higher salaries and poaching southern hemisphere players-there are a lot of Aussies and South Africans who will be playing in England next season, as well. You wonder if it will change English Rugby, just as foriegners have changed the premiership in football(soccer)-The English Premiership for football is a great league to watch, but the English natioal team sucks now.As you said, the English Rugby team does not look good. I don't look for this English team to do much in France. They will make it out of the first round, but I see them getting beat in the quarterfinals, I don't even see this team as being good enough to make the semi's.