No change in New Zealand’s overseas player policy

New Zealand Rugby will continue its policy of not selecting overseas players and will not be moved from that choice even after Australia decided to loosen its method.

Ma'a Nonu will be heading to France after the 2015 World Cup
Ma’a Nonu will be heading to France after the 2015 World Cup

Under the scheme overseas-based Australian players with more than 60 Tests to their record and who have had professional contracts of longer than seven years with the Australian Rugby Union will be eligible for selection.

New Zealand Rugby’s Chief Executive Steve Tew said on Thursday that New Zealand didn’t follow Australia’s lead. He said it was not a case of being intractable on the point, but they reviewed the policy regularly.

“Our view has been for a very long time that one of the key planks in our ability to retain our players in New Zealand, and for us to be able to continue to have a system where we produce talent, we need to have our top players playing in New Zealand,” he said.

New Zealand worked with players on an individual basis to create contracts that suited their purposes. Every player had different needs whether the result of age, family or desire to travel and they wanted to ensure they were catering for all needs.

Equally, there was a need to maintain their competitions to a level where people wanted to play in them.

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“Ultimately we will be successful with some players and we will lose others,” he said.

Tew said that the loss of players after this year’s World Cup was inevitable because New Zealand had enjoyed a strong player retention for the last two World Cups and the loss of players was a consequence of keeping so many players in New Zealand after 2011.

“We went into that World Cup without any All Blacks centurions, now we’ve got five and we have had a very experienced group, so there is a natural consequence of that success if you like,” he said.

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