I have come out of the doom and gloom to write about Carl Hayman’s choice to play in Toulon next year, rather than represent the All Blacks in the next world cup.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Hayman, particularly as we’ve had to endure Neemia Tialata’s ineffectiveness for the last three years.
But now he’s not coming home. Whether it is a big loss or not for New Zealand rugby (and a year ago I would have said ‘yes’, but since then I’ve seen Luke McAlister arrive back from the Northern Hemisphere a diminished player) is by the by.
The wider issue being discussed is whether New Zealand players should be allowed to play for a Northern hemisphere club and the All Black test team in the same season.
My answer is no.
For a start – a wealthy northern hemisphere club would not be prepared to release their players for training or tests to New Zealand (gawd, English clubs don’t do it for their own English team members so I very much doubt they would ever do it for a New Zealander).
Secondly, the New Zealand public would lose even more interest in the over hyped super 14 and the NZRFU would continue to lose revenue which means we would continue to lose even more stars.
Thirdly, skills levels of those stars plying their trade overseas would not be aligned with New Zealand rugby. Luke McAlister is a perfect example of this. He left as an up and coming star and has returned Joe Average. (More of the same is expected from Chris Jack and Aaron Mauger).
While I can understand Hayman’s choice to take the money, I wonder how he will feel come world cup time. If the All Blacks lose, no doubt he’ll be highly relieved. If they win, it may be another story for him altogether.
But he’s loaded now so that’s all ok because money is the answer Yeah right.