Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: Snubbing of Fiji rugby shows no imagination

Martin Sneddon. Photo / Natalie Slade
Martin Sneddon. Photo / Natalie Slade

It's official. The New Zealand Rugby Union lacks imagination and soul.

We knew that anyway, of course. But its snubbing of Fiji - whose request for a home test against the All Blacks to mark their centenary was turned down - typifies the arrogant, ham-fisted running of the national game.

The bottom line is important, but sport should also be an adventure, and that's what a test in Suva would have been. And you can only imagine the support and excitement in Fiji, which in turn has to be good for the game worldwide, which in turn should benefit New Zealand. (Who knows - it might lead to the development of even more Fijian rugby talent for the All Blacks to pilfer).

But oh no. Expansive, inspirational thinking is way beyond our boofhead rugby bosses, whose policies over the past few years appear to revolve around raiding the public coffers to stage a World Cup and the elitist treatment of our poor, exhausted All Black stars.

Time and time again, New Zealand rugby treats the Pacific Island nations with disrespect. Everyone is expected to bend over backwards for the great God of New Zealand rugby, but the game won't lift a finger to help anyone else. As the Herald on Sunday story about the Fijian snub explains, the NZRU is exceptionally good at manoeuvring events when it suits them.

Yet not only does the NZRU refuse to send the All Blacks to our cash-strapped rugby neighbours - who are major contributors to world rugby and New Zealand society - but they offer up an insult instead, namely a team of has-beens.

This is not just a journalistic bandwagon either. I have criticised the NZRU's failure to play tests in the islands before.

On one occasion, Martin Snedden - the man who made the World Cup happen - emailed, pointing to a passage in his book A Stadium of Four Million which called on the All Blacks to play in the Pacific Islands.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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