Tony Veitch: Time for All Blacks to go it alone

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All Black captain Kieran Read leads the haka during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Wales. Photo / Getty Images.
All Black captain Kieran Read leads the haka during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Wales. Photo / Getty Images.

I want to take you back to Tuesday October 4, 2011 when the then head of the International Rugby Board Mike Miller responded to my question: "Does the World Cup need the All Blacks?" His answer that "every team is replaceable" caused quite a stir around the rugby world.

The background to this was simple. New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew had raised issues around what he called a flawed World Cup model.

Every four years the likes of New Zealand and Australia would take a massive financial hit by just participating in rugby¹s global showcase because their revenue streams were slashed by a reduced test schedule.

Now let's fast forward to 2020. Imagine this scenario: the All Blacks decide to go it alone.

By then, the existing test schedule as locked down by World Rugby has ended and NZR have kept their promise to reserve their right to negotiate individual test matches.

That would mean any concept or series against any nation would be on the table if the money was right. Imagine the Springboks in New Zealand for a fully-fledged three-test tour.

Then there is the overseas power of the All Blacks brand. Name one nation in the rugby world that would not sell out an All Blacks test. Then add in new markets that would also see value in hosting our men in black, like Chicago will do later in the year.

Sure, English rugby had every right to protect their patch this week, no to moving the Six Nations, no to tweaking the club schedule, no to a global rugby season.

So why don¹t NZR play their trump card, namely the biggest brand in world rugby, and roll the dice? Let¹s take on the north at their own game: power and money.

Yes, I hear the argument that the Northern Hemisphere and its fans wouldn¹t give a stuff.

The argument goes that the Six Nations is a massive revenue puller and, with sellout stadiums, they wouldn¹t really miss the All Blacks. Of course they would.

Tew has laid down the challenge by stating publicly "there is no default position" as far as NZR and a global season is concerned. Remember Miller's comments five years ago that "every team is replaceable".

Let¹s find out, shall we?

A sports biography worth reading

Let's cut to the chase. by and large, sporting biographies are down-right boring. You know the script: "born in a small Kiwi town, never thought I would conquer the world, I have so many wonderful people to thank."

The academy awards of sport, you might say.

Sure, there have been the odd exceptions. Andre Agassi's tell-all rates as my No 1, Richie McCaw's book was a good read, as was Graham Henry's.

Get ready for the straight shooting in the Eric Murray and Hamish Bond story due to come out just days after (fingers crossed, touching wood) they complete back-to-back golds and continue one of the most outrageous winning streaks in sport.

Having been given a sneak peak of just one page, this will be good fun.

This is how chapter 14 starts: You blond-haired, arrogant, f*****. This is the story of how the boys may have a "slight" breakdown in relations with former coach Dick Tonks.

I would hazard a guess Eric may also unload on the IOC for their failure to ban Russia from the Olympics, given some of the correspondence I received during week. The Bond/Murray expose is due out by the end of August.

The fine line between success and failure

It has been a big debating point all week, the legacy of Todd Blackadder as Crusaders coach.

I almost felt nasty asking him after the Lions defeat how he was going to deal with that, the coach who couldn't take the most powerful and successful Super Rugby side to a title.

Talkback, of course piped up: "Toddy couldn't coach", "Toddy simply was not good enough". But go back to that incredible campaign of 2011 when the Crusaders almost pulled off the impossible in the year of the earthquakes and then fast forward to that penalty which crushed Crusaders' hearts in 2014.

Remember, referee Craig Joubert later phoned Todd to apologise for getting the McCaw call wrong. It is an incredibly fine line between winning and losing and that can make or destroy careers.

Compare Toddy's empty trophy cabinet to Graham Henry's life post-2011 and that final which nearly destroyed all of us mentally.

Graham is a man in demand, I reckon he's had guest speaking offers in counties I've never heard of. One point. That was the difference against France in 2011. One point. That was the difference between living as a champion or, in Todd's case, the bloke who never won a title as coach.

Person of the week

This accolade goes to former swimmer Moss Burmester who decided, "stuff it, time to take a stand". Too often our sportspeople are gagged or too afraid to speak their minds. Moss understands first-hand what it¹s like to be cheated out of an Olympic medal. It took guts to come out as hard as you did. Well done.

Questions of the week

• Who carries the Kiwi flag into the Olympic stadium? Normally I don't give a stuff, but this time there are so many worthy contenders.

• Owner Eric Watson said to me earlier in the year that there is no way the Warriors won't make the top eight this season. Do you think he's having serious doubts now?

• Plenty of names have been raised as potential candidates to take over from Steve Hansen as All Blacks coach in 2020, so why not current assistant Ian Foster? Chiefs fans might have some reservations but, from everything I hear from within the All Blacks, the players love him and, as attack coach, you cannot deny he¹s produced some sensational set-piece moves. Is Foster a contender for the top job?

• Would you cheat to win? It's the perfect time to ask this. If you could take a magical capsule, which would lead to sporting domination and all the riches that come with it, would you? Remember, Lance Armstrong still has a net worth of $125 million.

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