‘I don’t think we could survive’ – All Blacks legend Kieran Read weighs into NZR eligibility laws debate

Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read believes that New Zealand Rugby’s foreign policy should be changed, contrary to current captain Sam Cane.

Players currently playing in foreign countries are ineligible to be called up to Scott Robertson’s squad.


Kieran Read disagrees with Sam Cane over NZR's eligibility laws :  PlanetRugby


Cane is among those who have accepted to a short-term contract with Tokyo Sungoliath for the 2023/24 Japan Rugby League One season.

Back in time for 2024 Test season

Although the 31-year-old will be back in time for the 2024 international season, he may have changed his mind about the length of his contract with Sungoliath if he had been available for the All Blacks.

Cane stated at his new club’s debut that he wants the regulatory body to review their eligibility policy in the future.

That contradicts Read’s viewpoint, who issued a start warning to the NZR if they chose to follow the current All Blacks captain’s counsel.

“From my point of view, I don’t think New Zealand Rugby, the All Blacks or anyone could survive if we end up going down that route, just yet,” the 38-year-old rugby player told AM.

“We need our players to play in New Zealand. We need a robust competition that brings fans to games, engages them, and keeps them involved here in New Zealand.

“We can’t be doing that if we’re off playing around the world.”

South Africa’s policy

In his news conference on Tuesday, Cane, who was sitting alongside two-time Rugby World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe, used South Africa as an example of what could be accomplished.

They now recruit players from all around the world, including several who played in Japan previous to the World Cup.

“The seasons aren’t entirely in sync. “We’ve seen in South Africa that, while it can work in some ways, they end up playing practically all year round because there is no break between the international and club seasons,” Read added.

“I don’t see it happening right now, and I don’t believe it should.”

“Certainly, the opportunities to have sabbaticals and stuff is going to keep the guys in New Zealand a bit longer, I hope.”

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