NZRU alleviate the pressure on Jack

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has taken a rather relaxed approach to the news of All Blacks and Crusaders lock Chris Jack’s intentions of playing for English Guinness Premiership club Saracens.

Jack’s contract with the New Zealand and Tasman Rugby Unions expires at the end of this year’s Rugby World Cup which kicks off in September and finishes in October.

Jack, 28, made his All Blacks’ debut in June 2001 against Argentina and has played a pivotal role in the New Zealand set-up ever since .

“We have been talking but it’s still very early days in terms of the negotiations,” Saracens chief executive officer Mark Sinderberry said today.

“He’d add lots of balance to the squad. It’d be great if we could get him.”

New Zealand Rugby Union deputy chief executive Steve Tew said the union was aware that a number of players were considering their futures in the game.

“We’re not keen on losing any players to be fair, but the reality is the rugby market now is very global.

“There’s real pressure on a lot of our best players because of the performance of the All Blacks and our other teams over the last few years,” he said today.

“The reality is we are going to lose some guys and Chris has now got to make his own decisions.”

Tew said an overseas contract was not necessarily the end of a player’s All Blacks career.

“The door closes if a player goes overseas and plays overseas until such time as they come back to New Zealand.

“Certainly there are now plenty of examples of guys who have gone away, had that experience – not unlike a lot of other young New Zealanders do – and then come back and settled in and continued their careers here.”

A Canterbury Rugby Union spokesman said it was “a reality of the professional game” that many players looked at overseas options as their contracts came up for renewal.

Jack’s former All Black captain Taine Randell, who ended his association with Saracens last season, said he thought the move would be a good one for the player.

“They are going very well this season, they seem to have got a good mix management-wise and I think Chris will do really well at Saracens,” Randell said.

365 Digital

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