• Sevu Reece has become a poster boy for anti-domestic violence but the All Blacks newbie also raises questions on the farcical World Rugby eligibility rules that lead to discarding players on unrecyclable scrap heaps, akin to single-use plastics.
• A closer scrutiny of some on-field refereeing decisions during international matches at the weekend offers a great snapshot of what the mentality is on a rugby caste system that desperately needs overhauling.
Here's the curious case of Sevu Reece who made his All Blacks debut against Argentina in the opening round of the four-nation Rugby Championship at the weekend.
That Reece has the attributes of a wicked winger is as much a given as the raging debate on whether he got away with a rap on the knuckle for assaulting his then girlfriend in Hamilton on July 1 last year. The court had discharged him without conviction last October on account of his immediate guilty plea and staying sober.
Irish club Connacht had terminated his two-year contract, he had missed the Chiefs' cull for the Super Rugby campaign but the Canterbury Crusaders had come to his rescue.
The rest is history, with the All Blacks likely to name him in their 31-member squad for the Rugby World Cup kicking off in Japan in September.
Reece has displaced fellow Fiji-born Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo who, ironically, also had made his ABs debut against Argentina in 2015.
While it's perturbing how quickly a rugby professional can be ushered into the mainstream of the game of life after offending publicly (think England cricketer Ben Stokes), my preoccupation is with the unethical selection, yet again, of another Fiji-born player.
If there are any doubts about Reece's attachment to his roots then his post-test feelings clear the air.
"A really special moment, not just for me, but for my family back in Fiji," the 22-year-old winger had said from Buenos Aires.
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While the scribes have engaged in brainstorming articles about ABs coach Steve Hansen's choice of words and the rights and wrongs of giving Reece a new lease on life in rugby-dom, no one seems to be losing sleep over the pilfering of backyard talent.
The Nadi-born player had represented Hamilton Boys' High School to global accolades in 2015.
In all the furore about absolving New Zealand Rugby from any guilt and a lack of judgment, it seems people have overlooked the fact that if the eligibility criteria weren't so farcical the debate would never have eventuated.
Would lobby groups have gone out on a limb if Reece wasn't an All Black? I think not. It says as much about the ABs marketing clout as it does about making an example of someone influential to stymie an undesirable trait that pervades every altitude of society.
No doubt, such selections are done "by the book" on regulations that read like fine print to cushion life insurance policies.
World Rugby continues to allow elite nations to goose step around articles of ambiguity to qualify players who have tenuous biological ties or have lived in a country for a certain time.
Lawyers may well quibble over the semantics of it all but you cannot ignore the overriding desire to glean talent from resource-poor nations before discarding them, akin to single-use plastics.
That France has established academies in Fiji schools is great for player development in the Pacific Islands. That it exposes them to professional rugby in Europe also is commendable but why should that extend to representing France?
A Gospel Primary School rugby sevens team from Suva will create history as the first from Fiji to compete at the annual intermediate schools' Aim Games in the Bay of Plenty in September. Can Education New Zealand guarantee talent won't be poached in the quest to "develop global citizenship"?
National U20 stripes automatically lock in players to a country because they are considered adults but somehow it isn't tenable when Reece finds himself in a dock for committing domestic violence, under the influence, at 22. He's culpable but, presumably, also "vulnerable".
The "parent" clause of eligibility — never mind the caveat of someone "adopted in accordance with the formal, legal requirements of the country concerned" — explains how Uncle Meli Nauga became the catalyst for the rise of Naholo, from the Whanganui Heartland trenches to the national U20s, sevens, Taranaki, Highlanders and the ABs.
"It was not part of our plan for him to go to New Zealand but it was his uncle's fault," Aporosa Naholo, Nauga's cousin, told NZ Herald scribe Chris Rattue in July 2015.
"His uncle has three daughters and he wanted a boy to be in the family so he just called and asked about Waisake coming over. He said he would take care of everything — his fares — and we said if you can afford to do that, we can send him over."
Is that a compelling enough reason to "adopt" someone at 17? It seems to be an easier way of entering a country than applying for a holiday visa.
Don't get me wrong. That avenue has built Naholo's career, all the way to London Irish this year, but does that give New Zealand a licence to usurp him with fiscal incentives to an extent where he marginalises his birth country?
What happens to all the Naholos of the empty plastic-bottle-passing mould from the villages of this world when the rising Reeces displace them?
How many Kiwis are on the international scrap heap, even though they may be just as good or marginally inferior to them?
And don't even get me started on foreign players who become nation-tied playing international sevens when it's blatantly obvious the latter is considered a sip-and-giggle format to 15-a-side rugger.
The rules can be as ludicrous as cricket. The on-field cases in Sunday's rugby test go a fair way in exposing that mentality.
Dane Coles, unprovoked, shouldered an Argentine running past totally off the play in the 53rd minute but conceded just a penalty rather than a 10-minute, yellow-card sinbin.
The hooker's ill discipline (2014, 2015, 2016 for "cheap shots", "foul play", "thuggery" — take your pick) isn't surprising but why TV didn't go back to the incident for a close-up replay is.
So is Australia referee Angus Gardner arriving at that decision, presumably after consulting an assistant and TMO Graham Hughes, of England.
Winger Jordie Barrett tackled a player in the air in the opening minute — yellow card? I've seen players wear red cards for that but you start getting the picture on double standards in policing the laws.
Commentator Justin Marshall was quick to absolve Coles of his lunacy in trying to lend credence to a wet bus ticket in suggesting the Argentine was trying to "milk it".
Seriously? You see, that's where rugby keeps dropping the ball.
Juxtapose that with Wallaby coach Michael Cheika labelling referee Paul Williams' second-half yellow card on Taniela Tupou "the wrong call".
Was the Tongan Thor late in the chest hit on Springbok flanker Rynhardt Elstadt in the 54th minute?
Now compare that with Maori All Blacks fullback Shaun Stevenson making a blatantly late, two-feet-upending tackle on Fiji counterpart Kini Murimurivalu's chip kick in Rotorua in the 25th minute on Saturday.
"No advantage, offside too," said referee Hugh Reed, after a collective wince from the crowd, in awarding just a penalty before marching up to tell Stevenson. "No more down here, eh."