Q: With more players heading to Japan, and the NZRU allowing some players to forgo the ITM Cup to play there, would it not make sense to forget about expanding Super Rugby into Japan but instead expand the NPC into Japan. The money Japan could bring to the NPC could save that comp and also keep players here in NZ. In return playing in our NPC would help grow their players and competition.
I can't see a move of our NPC to Japan a viable option on a number of levels. Firstly, the logistics of moving 14-plus teams around the Pacific Rim during our 12-week playing window just can't work and to extend this competition, even a little, would impact greatly on our money-making competitions - Super Rugby and All Black tests - and the grassroots of our game, club rugby which can't be touched. Also, which is the reason why so many player are going there in the first place, we can- not compete financially. In NZ we are looking to reduce the salary cap of our NPC sides, whereas in Japan that salary cap would be taken up in some instances by 2-3 players - causing a huge imbalance. The end result would be players still going up there for the greater benefits they can receive. Lastly, the NPC is very important to who we are and the opportunity it gives our young players has been well documented over the years. So the cash injection aside, I don't see a need to mess with it.
Q: The Rugby Almanack is disappointed players listen to the national anthem with their socks down. It's something that I have always hated too. What are your thoughts about how an All Black should present themselves?
While I don't have a strong opinion on this Patrick (because you need to be comfortable and relaxed to play your best) it is my preference for our All Blacks to respect and honour the jersey and all it entails. This means wearing it with the pride of the people you represent and the ones who have gone before you. It was always my personal belief that if my opposition had his socks down or jersey out then he was being careless and sloppy with his preparation which was going to give me an edge over him.