Editorial: Accusing Australia of stealing players wrong

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Rugby, like fruit, prospers when propagated all over the world from good stock

Mike Harris. Photo / Getty Images
Mike Harris. Photo / Getty Images

It was disappointing to hear the All Black coach criticise Australia for selecting expat New Zealanders such as Mike Harris, who kicked the Wallabies to a draw with Steve Hansen's team last Saturday.

"I am pleased he [Harris] has achieved his dream," Hansen said, "What I find frustrating is that Australia is trying to build their game but all they are doing is putting franchises in place and stealing our players."

The comment is particularly unexpected at the end of an international series that has been notable for the arrival of Argentina in the southern championship. The Pumas, whose best players have been too long in European competition, made a remarkable transition to the faster, more expansive southern game.

While they didn't score a win, they were not outclassed against any of the old Tri-Nations teams, an achievement they attribute in large part to the help of Sir Graham Henry. Sir Graham's home country should also be grateful that he is helping to improve rugby on a wider plane.

New Zealand has nothing to gain, and much to lose, from resentment of others poaching our players and expertise. So long as we ensure All Black status keeps the best here - as it does - we should be a nursery of fine rugby for the world.

The better the competition, the better the game's appeal in other places, the better it will be here.

Sport, like fruit, prospers when it is propagated worldwide from strong stock. It is happening now.

- NZ Herald

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