Floodgates to open in All Black exodus

All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan has reportedly been offered a NZ$33 000-a-month deal with French club Stade Francais.

According to New Zealand newspaper, the Sunday News, Cowan, along with fellow fringe All Blacks, Craig Newby and Saimone Taumoepeau, will likely announce European deals for after the World Cup this week.

Also set to continue the mass New Zealand player drain are Marty Holah, Rico Gear and Sitiveni Sivivatu who is likely to sign with French club Agen, and Luke McAlister, who is set to sign with Munster.

All Black back-up fly-half Nick Evans will also leave according to reports.

Newby, Cowan and Evans’s loss would be quite simply shattering for the Highlanders, who are already having to say goodbye to Clarke Dermody, Anton Oliver, Carl Hayman, Kane Thompson, Filipo Levi and skipper Josh Blackie.

Other All Blacks already definitely signed for overseas clubs are Aaron Mauger, Chris Jack, Sam Tuitupou and Byron Kelleher.

Richie McCaw, Doug Howlett and Ali Williams are all likely to remain in New Zealand, whilst the futures of players such as Ma’a Nonu, Joe Rokocoko, Greg Rawlinson and Sione Lauaki are all uncertain.

McCaw, All Blacks skipper, is disappointed with the loss of so many teammates.

He told the Sunday Star-Times, “I’m happy here so don’t want to leave.

“It’s disappointing to see them leave, but I can’t begrudge them for making the decisions they have, because everyone has their own reasons.

“We just have to make every effort to make sure guys can, and want to, stay and if they don’t, then make sure the guys that keep coming through are handled well.

“I think we need to keep faith that they will (come through) and we have shown over the last couple of years, with the number of players capable of playing test rugby, that it is possible.

“I’m sure the cupboard won’t be too bare.”

Any chance of the New Zealand government attempting to stem the tide of All Blacks heading offshore by offering tax cuts, as some commentators have suggested, have been scotched by the minister for sport.

Trevor Mallard told the Sunday Star-Times that the government would not be offering rugby players any special treatment.


365 Digital

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