Henry backs Samoa’s rugby Test status

The International Rugby Board is looking at the whole concept of awarding caps for International rugby matches and has questioned the relevance of calling this week’s match between New Zealand and Samoa a “Test”.

The chief executive of the IRB, Mike Miller, sent a circular to the game’s member unions two weeks ago asking for clarification, saying that Test status needs some clarity and is currently too ambiguous.

He says there’s no question that Test status should be awarded for matches at the World Cup, the June and November internationals, plus the Six-Nations and Tri-Nations, but that it is harder to justify Test status for matches outside those parameters.

The Stuff website reports the issue has been thrown back into the spotlight by assumptions that Samoa’s depleted team will take a severe beating from the in-form All Blacks on Wednesday night.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry defended the decision last week, telling the Sunday Star-Times an understrength Samoan side would still beat Portugal.

He stood by Samoa, questioning why Test caps were instead awarded when the All-Blacks played Portugal during the World Cup.

The IRB is hoping to have clarity by the end of the year.



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