Who Can Go To the Brisbane Tens – the All Blacks Participation

Rugby 10s Launch
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From many different points of view, the disharmony over player availability at the Brisbane Global Tens tournament has been in unison, and has clouded the actual event. The conversation changed from “that looks great!” to very quickly being “I thought he was playing”. Organizers had to react, as the All Blacks Brisbane Tens participation dwindled to below five*.

Significantly, the event promoter DUCO has had to change it’s marketing to suit, even though at the time of publishing, players unavailable still show on the official website. Partner broadcasters had to do the same. SkySports Kirsty Way admitted to RadioSport last week that the situation “was not good, and our promotions will need to be adjusted to suit the new situation;” as they were provided a video package, which the broadcaster now had to alter to fit the situation.

From a public relations perspective, having such confusion so close to the February 11-12 event was poor; to say the least. With the topic only becoming made public now, Last Word On Rugby must ask “how many pre-sales directly came from the use of All Blacks images who now will only be ‘ambassadors’ at the tournament?”

Misleading or Just a Sad State of Confusion

When Rob Nichol raised the fact, it was not a new concept. The case that All Blacks have a stand-down period post any Northern Tour has been common. At times, players have been re-introduced as late as Round Three of Super Rugby, so the planned release of ‘withheld’ star players like Israel Dagg has occurred in the past–no questioning that.

However, the New Zealand Rugby Players Association highlighted a mandatory 12-week stand-down period for players that included men used in marketing by DUCO (see above), so this is the core fact. Was it misleading?. DUCO’s Australian chief executive Rachael Carroll thinks not.

Technically no, but morally they made the fans believe; and targeted the players dressed in franchise kit, to help promote the event. In the above main picture, Dagg is presented as a participant, in the Tens launch. As well, a misleading statement was made that ‘The Super Rugby sides are contractually obligated to include four of their 10 highest paid players in their Tens squads ahead of the season kicking off between the Rebels and Blues on February 23 – Courier Mail, December 13, 2016 by

No key players….then who we’re they associating the names with? A branded campaign for Adidas, or was it more convenient than to use players selected today? Coaches might have assumed the organization knew, but the mishandling of the situation has given rise to anger and contempt from the public. It has all come to a head, as is darkening the events positive elements completely.

Who Can Go To the Brisbane Global Tens–the All Blacks Participation

The number of All Blacks to be selected in Super Rugby franchise squads had been in question after much of the advertising around the event was centred on the likes of Dagg, Jerome Kaino and Damian McKenzie. That marketing had begun in August of last year, so at that time the ‘collective bargaining agreement’ was known.

Their participation in the event would have seemed secondary to the task of completing The Rugby Championship [won by the All Blacks], and then the end of year tour. So there is no association with players used, and then selections made–but the actions of one, affected the other directly.

None are saying that New Zealand Rugby withheld the information, but it might have made sense to have a disclaimer: players used were for marketing purposes only. All Blacks Brisbane Tens stars would be ambassadors only; to limit the confusion. Fans would have known, and based their purchasing decision on the facts.

The All Blacks Participation Needed to be Clear

And what also gave confusion, was how players from the above group were paraded in promotional events. Many spoke of being excited about the Brisbane Global tens. In fact, the statement was published that ‘some big names among the confirmed starters’ of who the below players were mentioned by name.

Kaino was also quoted from the Blues website in August, as saying “it’s a great chance to measure ourselves against our Super Rugby rivals, and we will be out to show we will be contenders in 2017”. And while not specifically saying at the time he would only be present in an ambassadorial role, it appeared that he would be fit to play.

All Blacks Brisbane Tens Participation Removed

As a stakeholder, ask any rugby fan now and they might too be scratching their head. Some have asked ‘should have guessed, with DUCO involved’ but that was secondary. An original agreement precluded players made available to market. The Super Rugby franchises might have been best to use ‘non touring’ players.

Confirmed NZ Super Rugby Squads Named

  • Blues:
    Josh Goodhue, Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a, Tom Robinson, Sam Prattley, Kara Pryor, Marcel Renata, Brandon Nansen, Joe Royal, Scott Scrafton, Murphy Taramai, Ambrose Curtis, Matt Duffie, Pasqualle Dunn, Billy Guyton, George Moala, Sam Nock, Declan O’Donnell, Stephen Perofeta, Rene Ranger, Jordan Trainor, Matt Vaega.
  • Chiefs:
    Liam Messam, Hika Elliot, Sigfreid Fisi’ihoi, Liam Polwart, Atunaisa Moli, Sam Cair, Findlamor Hoeata, Brad Weber, Joseva Rauvouvou, Findlay Christie, Tim Nanai Williams, Sheldon Tovio, Sevu Reece, Jonathon Taumateine, Shaun Stevenson, Solomon Alaimalo, Alex Nankivel, Dwayne Sweeney, Sosefo Kautai, Taleni Seu, Mitchell Brown, Luteru Laulala, Latu Vaeno, Luke Jacobson, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Graham.
  • Hurricanes:
    Nehe Milner-Skudder, Cory Jane, Reg Goodes, Loni Uhila, Ricky Riccitelli, Asafo Aumua, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, Joe Apikotoa, Vaea Fifita, Mark Abbott, James Blackwell, Brad Shields, Reed Prinsep, Toa Halafihi, Hugh Renton, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Kemera Hauiti-Parapara, Otere Black, Vince Aso, Matt Proctor, Wes Goosen, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Jonah Lowe, Jordie Barrett.
  • Crusaders:
    Tim Perry, Mike Alaalatoa, Oli Jager, Quinten Strange, Chris Gawler, Mitchell Dunshea, Peter Samu, Jed Brown, Leon Fukofuka, Marty McKenzie, Bryn Hall, Tim Bateman, David Havilli, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge, Andrew Makalio, Seta Tamanivalu, Ben Funnell, Whetu Douglas, Mitchell Hunt, Digby Ioane, Sione Fifita ,Manasa Mataele, Sean Wainui, Jordan Taufua.
  • Highlanders:
    Aki Seiuli, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Liam Coltman, Josh Dickson, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, James Lentjes, Craig Millar, Dillon Hunt, Gareth Evans, Luke Whitelock, Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Tei Walden, Rob Thompson, Jason Emery, Tevita Li, Matt Faddes, Sio Tomkinson, Marty Banks.
*Players noted are members of the All Blacks squad, wider-training squad or former AB’s.

And now that the confirmed teams have been released, will those fans now still decide to attend or watch the event? If not, what reaction; and legal recourse, might DUCO Australia take? [Watch this space].

 

“Main photo credit”