A participation blunder ahead of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens has re-enforced the need for clarity in deals signed between all parties when it comes to the availability of All Blacks.
In a relatively remarkable day, several claims have been made that suggest communication between Duco Events and New Zealand Rugby broke down somewhere along the way. The Brisbane Global Tens is a new, two-day tournament that features several Super Rugby sides and a few overseas clubs.
Duco Events are the organising team behind all of new WBO Boxing Champion, and New Zealand’s own, Joseph Parker. The formula for the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens seemed to be great, but perhaps costly assumptions were made and no actual confirmation or assurance was given.
Confusion Reigns Over All Blacks Eligibility
Duco say they have been negotiating with New Zealand Rugby in good faith. Duco also said that the contracted ambassadors showed a strong desire to play in the tournament. According to Duco, ten All Blacks who participated in last year’s end of season European tour have been confirmed in sides submitted by New Zealand Super Rugby clubs. However, a clause in the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) states that current All Black players must be given a 12-week stand-down from rugby.
Those current players include Jerome Kaino, Damian McKenzie, and Israel Dagg; all of whom Duco used heavily during promotion for the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens. Those players have also posted enthusiasm for the tournament on social media and have encouraged people to book tickets.
Rob Nichol, chief executive of the NZRPA, said that Duco were aware that All Blacks would not be compelled to play in the tournament. According to a report on Stuff, Super Rugby clubs are contracted to send a number of top tier players, but they are not required to be current All Blacks.
So for example; Nehe Milner-Skudder can play for the Hurricanes in the tournament because he missed the 2016 international season. His teammate, Beauden Barrett, cannot be selected because he represented the All Blacks in a match against France last November.
— Brisbane Global Tens (@BrisbaneTens) December 30, 2016
However, in another twist, the NZRPA say that an All Black could indeed play in Brisbane but it would only be subject to their own personal circumstances. Just what that means is another unresolved matter entirely.
The Brisbane Global Rugby Tens Eligibility Blunder
New Zealand Rugby is focused on bigger things than the two-day tournament in Brisbane; there is a British & Irish Lions tour to consider plus a gruelling season of Super Rugby beforehand.
But for Duco, this is a major blow and some people in the organising committee will be sweating on a good result. But you could argue that Duco may not have done their homework ahead of this one. Some All Black players haven’t even joined their Super Rugby clubs for preseason training yet, in fact some have just returned from holiday and are yet to have a full training run.
This could be massive breakdown in communication between the two parties, or a massive blunder by Duco. The amount of money invested in promoting this tournament is in the thousands; it includes flying at least three All Black players to Brisbane and shouting all the luxurious additions.
Surely, this expense wouldn’t have occurred if some sort of agreement hadn’t been met between Duco and New Zealand Rugby in the first place. But was it official?
“Main photo credit”