Mark Reason the man who wrote the article about the All Blacks cheating at the break down came out with another controversial statement yesterday.
Essentially he is expressing dissatisfaction with the make-up of the England rugby team. Indicating that it’s full of hired-guns and that the rules have been bent since the advent of professionalism to allow players from one countries to play test rugby in another country.
Being a New Zealand citizen (although originally from England) he is probably the last one to talk considering the history of New Zealand utilizing South Pacific Island players like Frank Bunce, Bryan Williams, Jono Lomu and so forth.
What does team mean?
Half a century and a world ago, the men who played for the local soccer team were a part of the community. You had a beer with them down the local pub. You might even have a job working alongside a few of them. Some sold insurance, some worked down the pits. But you knew them.
More recently rugby supporters would still have a beer with the players on a Saturday night after the game. It made them feel closer to the team and the players less remote. But then professionalism came along and the players were hauled off to schmooze the sponsors.
Less and less is the team part of the community. More and more is it an adjunct of business. I am not sure that this is what sport should be about. I am not sure why supporting a football team full of ridiculously paid foreign mercenaries should still fulfil a primitive tribal urge.
But at least playing for your country still seemed to mean something. The All Blacks are an important part of New Zealand and the Springboks have been a huge force in South African culture. But it is hard to say the same about England. They have become opportunist to a shameful degree.
Manu Tuilagi is a Samoan who came to England on a holiday visa and stayed illegally. Thomas Waldrom is a New Zealander who realised he would not play for his country while Kieran Read was No 8 and so became an economic migrant. He thought he would have to wait three years to fulfil the ludicrous residency rule, but then he discovered a grandmother.
Martin Johnson has said he will pick anyone so long as they are good. Once upon a time the RFU would never have allowed such nonsense, but now they would sell their own grandmothers into slavery if it meant Daniel Carter could play for England and put a few more million on the bottom line.
I have no doubt that modern sport has saved many a man from a grim working life. But it has also become tarnished over the years.
And I hope Scotland win by eight points this weekend. This is an unlovely England side of mixed nationality that does not deserve your support.
I must say he has a point and part of England’s problem in both cricket and rugby is the tendency of English sport clubs to buy/contract international stars from foreign countries to play for them at the cost of developing young local talent.
Money calls the shots and it’s like there is no real integrity and honour any more. Players will go where they get opportunity and would always prefer to play for the best team if they can get into it hence Frank Bunce moving from Samoa (where he played his first RWC) to New Zealand.
If we leave to the players they will travel and accept nationality just to be part of the top rugby echelon. Coaches will do the same. Robbie Deans is coaching the enemy to beat the team he played for and who he coached.
Gatland is coaching Wales and Scotland has and English international coaching them.
So if you want to prevent player migration and getting test status in another country what about coaches?
Reason being an Englishman himself could probably be complimented for his stance against England’s but one has to ask is this stance because he want to keep the English team ‘pure’ or out of fear for the challenge that the ‘bastard’ English team pose for his new country?
Being a Englishman who have forsaken his own roots and adopted citizenship in another country one wonders about the old truism ‘Don’t throw stones if you live in a glass castle’.
I got the following information regarding make-up of RWC squads playing in the 2011 tournament.
Samoa is the greatest recipient of New Zealand’s rugby heritage and rugby development structure, with 15 of their squad from the land of the long white cloud.
It’s a pretty good swap for the ‘Ikale Tahi: 15 in and giving back three of the four All Blacks players not born in New Zealand (Mils Muliaina, Salelesi, Samoa; Jerome Kaino, Tutuila, Samoa; and Isaia Toeava, Moto’otua, Samoa). The only other player in the ABs squad not from New Zealand is ‘Ocker-born’ Ben Franks (Frankston, Australia).
Some 38 New Zealand-born players in foreign rugby squads far exceed the contributions made by Tri-Nations counterparts Australia and South Africa (13 each).
Australia of course has a New Zealander at the pivotal first-five possie – Quade Cooper – the Tokoroa boy. But being born here definitely doesn’t automatically earn support from NZ fans. His run ins with All Black captain Richie McCaw see him with a ‘hate that man’ target square on his back.
Home grown honours are held by Argentina, Georgia and Romania.
Of the real big guns though, it’s South Africa who dip the least – Tendai Mtawarira the only foreign born player (Harare, Zimbabwe).
Countries who don’t share their toys are France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, Romania, Russia and Wales with no players in other squads.
Players born in other countries
Argentina: All born in Argentina
Australia: Dan Vickerman (Cape Town, South Africa), Radike Samo (Nadi, Fiji), Will Genia (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea), Stephen Moore (Khamis, Saudi Arabia), David Pocock (Messina, South Africa), Quade Cooper (Auckland, New Zealand), Digby Ioane (Wellington, New Zealand)
Canada: Nanyak Dala (Jos, Nigeria), DTH (Daniel Tailliferre Hauman) van der Merwe (Worcester, South Africa), Jeremy Kyne (Wellington, New Zealand), Jamie Mackenzie (Troon, Scotland), James Pritchard (Parkes, Australia)
England: Joe Simpson (Sydney, Australia), Delon Armitage (San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago), Alex Corbisiero (New York, USA), Matt Stevens (Durban, South Africa), Dylan Hartley (Rotorua, New Zealand), Simon Shaw (Nairobi, Kenya), Shontayne Hape (Auckland, New Zealand), Manu Tuilagi (Moto’otua, Samoa)
Fiji: Nicky Little (Tokoroa, New Zealand), Campese Ma’afu (Sydney, Australia), Deacon Manu (New Plymouth, New Zealand), Vitori Tomu Buatava (Melbourne, Australia), Michael Tagicakibau (Auckland, New Zealand)
France: Thierry Dusautoir (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
Georgia: All Georgian-born.
Ireland: Ronan O’Gara (San Diego, USA), Isaac Boss (Tokoroa, New Zealand), Jamie Heaslip (Tiberias, Israel), Tom Court (Brisbane, Australia)
Italy: Carlo Del Fava (Umtata, South Africa), Corniel van Zyl (Nelspruit, South Africa), Quintin Geldenhuys (Klerksdorp, South Africa), Martin Castrogiovanni (Paraná, Argentina), Pablo Canavosio (Córdoba, Argentina), Luciano Orquera (Córdoba, Argentina), Gonzalo Garcia (Mendoza, Argentina), Robert Barbieri (Toronto, Canada), Sergio Parisse (Mar del Plata, Argentina), Gonzalo Canale (Córdoba, Argentina), Luke McLean (Townsville, Australia)
Japan: Luke Thompson (Christchurch, New Zealand), Michael Leitch (Burwood, New Zealand), Ryukoliniasi Holani (Nuku’alofa, Tonga), Shaun Webb (Blenheim, New Zealand), Justin Ives (Mosgiel, New Zealand), Sione Talikavili Vatuvei (Nuku’alofa, Tonga), James Arlidge (Hamilton, New Zealand), Murray Williams (Lower Hutt, New Zealand), Ryan Nicholas (Broken Hill, Australia), Alisi Tupuailai (Manunu, Samoa)
Namibia: Jacques Nieuwenhuis (Brakpan, South Africa), Piet van Zyl (Worcester, South Africa), Danie Dames (Pretoria, South Africa), Chrysander Botha (Walvis Bay, South Africa), Conrad Marais (Walvis Bay, South Africa) Note: At the time of their birth Walvis Bay was South African territory.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina (Salelesi, Samoa), Ben Franks (Frankston, Australia), Jerome Kaino (Tutuila, Samoa), Isaia Toeava (Moto’otua, Samoa)
Romania: All Romania born.
Russia: Adam Byrnes (Sydney, Australia), Vyacheslav Grachev (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
Samoa: Census Johnston (Auckland, New Zealand), Anthony Perenise (Wellington, New Zealand), Olé Avei (Wellington, New Zealand), Daniel Leo (Palmerston North, New Zealand), Kane Thompson (Paraparaumu, New Zealand), Kahn Fotuali’i (Auckland, New Zealand), Jeremy Sua (Wellington, New Zealand), Tusi Pisi (Auckland, New Zealand), Sailosi Tagicakibau (Auckland, New Zealand), James So’oialo (Wellington, New Zealand), Ti’i Paulo (Christchurch, New Zealand), Filipo Lavea Levi (Hamilton, New Zealand), Junior Poluleuligaga (Auckland, New Zealand), Tasesa Lavea (Taihape, New Zealand), Paul Williams (Auckland, New Zealand)
Scotland: John Barclay (Hong Kong), Nathan Hines (Wagga Wagga, Australia), Dan Parks (Hornsby, Australia), Jim Hamilton (Swindon, England), Ruaridh Jackson (Northampton, England), Max Evans (Torquay, England), Graeme Morrison( Hong Kong)
South Africa: Tendai Mtawarira (Harare, Zimbabwe)
Tonga: Tukulua Lokotui (Auckland, New Zealand), Kurt Morath (Takapuna, New Zealand), Alipate Fatafehi (Sigatoka, Fiji), Ephraim Taukafa (Auckland, New Zealand), Joseph Tuineau (Suva, Fiji), Thomas Palu (Wellington, New Zealand), Andrew Ma’ilei (Auckland, New Zealand), William Helu (Otahuhu, New Zealand), Siale Piutau (Auckland, New Zealand)
USA: Takudzwa Ngwenya (Harare, Zimbabwe), Iñaki Basauri (Monterre, Mexico), JJ Gagiano (Cape Town, South Africa), Matekitonga Moeakiola (Vaini, Tonga), Valenise Malifa (Pago Pago, American Samoa), Hayden Smith (Penrith, Australia), Tai Enosa (Faga’alu, American Samoa), Andrew Suniula (Pago Pago, American Samoa), James Paterson (Christchurch, New Zealand), Tim Usasz (Brisbane, Australia), Junior Sifa (Faga’alu, American Samoa), Roland Suniula (Pago Pago, American Samoa)
Wales: Luke Charteris (Camborne, England), Danny Lydiate (Salford, England), Toby Faletau (Tofoa, Tonga), Jonathan Davies (Solihull, England), George North (King’s Lynn, England)
Importers and Exporters
15: Samoa (all from New Zealand)
7: Australia, Scotland
5: Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Wales
4: Ireland, New Zealand
2: France, Russia
1: South Africa
0: Argentina, Georgia, Romania
38: New Zealand
13: Australia, South Africa
6: Argentina, England
5: American Samoa, Samoa
2: Hong Kong, USA, Zimbabwe
1: Burkina Faso, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Scotland, Uzbekistan
0: France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, Romania, Russia, Wales
New Zealand export by far the most. 15 New Zealand-born players play for Samoa. Three Samoan-born players play for New Zealand.
The three SANZAR countries export more than all the other countries combined.
The implication of all that if is that if rugby deteriorate in New Zeland (and to a lesser extend in South Africa) it will hurt the rest of the world.