Kiwi exodus gathers momentum

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) may have a post-World Cup player crisis on its hands if the current player exodus to the Northern Hemisphere continues to gather momentum.

Reports from New Zealand suggest that more than half-a-dozen of the country’s World Cup players are set to chase Pounds and euro after the global showpiece in France in September and October.

According to Yahoo!Xtra alarm bells will soon start ringing at the NZRU if is confirmed, as their sources suggest, that backline star Sitiveni Sivivatu will also move to Agen in France.

Losing a 27-year-old world-class tighthead prop, such as Carl Hayman, is one thing, but coughing up a 25-year-old winger who’s arguably the finest finisher in the game should be considered another altogether.

Sivivatu is apparently regarded as a “long-term” investment for the NZRU.

However, according to the website, Sivivatu has already agreed to the deal to join his Chiefs teammate Byron Kelleher at the Agen club in France.

The report states that Sivivatu has already committed to make the move and if that is the case then New Zealand rugby assuredly does have a crisis on its hands.

Already confirmed to be leaving New Zealand after the World Cup are Hayman (to Newcastle), Kelleher (Agen), Chris Jack (Saracens), Aaron Mauger (Leicester), Anton Oliver (to France, possibly Toulon) and Sam Tuitupou (Worcester).

Added to that a number of leading players from the next level down, such as Otago’s Josh Blackie, Taranaki’s Paul Tito and Canterbury’s Johnny Leo’o are also on the move.

But it’s the departure of the top-end internationals that must be causing the greatest concern, and it appears that the money on offer is enticing them at increasingly early stages of their test careers.

If Sivivatu’s move to Agen is a done deal, as sources indicate it is, the loss of the brilliant winger would be a major blow to New Zealand rugby who face a major cleanout after the World Cup.

Star Blues second-five Luke McAlister is apparently considering offers from top clubs, including it’s said Leicester, but it would be a major surprise if the NZRU allowed this key inside back to escape given his likely importance to the next four-year international cycle.

McAlister’s retention is seen as a key test case for the NZRU who must at some stage protect its playing assets.

Moves are also afoot to secure the immediate future of the game’s two global superstars Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.

It’s no coincidence that McAlister’s absence from the Blues has coincided with their dramatic drop in form, and with Mauger and Tuitupou both departing, there is a major lack of international-quality talent in the inside centre position.

But Sivivatu will not be the only top All Black to join the others in the move north, the according to the website.

Rico Gear has all but confirmed he’s set to take up an offer (possibly with Sale who are looking for a replacement for Jason Robinson) and sources say Blues lock Ali Williams has been shopped around as a star signing, with some reports already indicating he could also land in France.

Other fringe players such as Greg Rawlinson, Ma’a Nonu, Jimmy Cowan and Clarke Dermody are all said to be poised to join the Anglo-French exodus, with still more in the sights of the cashed up French and English clubs.


365 Digital

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.