Call me stupid, but I can't get my head around this whole All Black "snub" of the Brisbane Global Tens tournament.

Ever since there was a thing created called the Collective Bargaining Agreement, all players, and most importantly All Blacks, were put into a protection zone designed to look after their welfare, help them rehab from injuries and, most importantly, give them some time away from playing rugby.

Ever since I can remember, the All Blacks who played a role on the end-of-year tour do not return to their franchises until much later than those mere mortals yet to grace a black jersey.

So, this year the magical date sent down for all franchises to welcome back their biggest and brightest stars was post-January 29.


That's next week. The Brisbane 10s, this flash new concept from Duco Events, is on February 11-12.

So, let's fast forward to the week just gone.

The head of the Rugby Players Association Rob Nichol tells us with the thoroughly logical breaking news that All Blacks would not be playing in this big prize money event.

Imagine my shock. Asking All Blacks to turn up, train their backsides off, plus learn a new format of the game in 10 days. Why not?

The issue here, like Duco's Auckland Nines league event, is perception.

A couple of years ago, Jonathan Thurston was paid significant money by Duco for a flying visit to Auckland to front any radio station that would take him and talk up the Nines. Then when the slightest sign of an injury niggle emerged, the Cowboys pulled him.

The difference here is stark.

This is what I know. When the deal was done, Duco, the players and their managers who negotiated the financial terms for them to appear in Brisbane, should have been across that there was a 12-week stand down period which would make it difficult for NZR to release any of those players.

NZR found out about the deal for certain players to appear in Brisbane only once the advertising campaign went to market.

At that point it was too late to pull the adverts with Jerome Kaino, Israel Dagg and Damian McKenzie as three of the key faces for the Global Tens.

From my information, all three players may be released to travel to Brisbane, but in an ambassadorial role only.

As far as those who have been green lighted to play, it reads this way.

From the Blues, Steven Luatua is the sole All Black along with Liam Coltman from the Highlanders.

Nehe Milner-Skudder will make his return to rugby alongside Hurricanes teammates Vaea Fifita and yet to be capped player Jordie Barrett.

The Crusaders have two players in Seta Tamanivalu and lock Luke Romano.

Not exactly a superstar posse of All Blacks is it?

So, what of any fans who forked out their hard earned to see more All Blacks than that?

One of those disaffected fans is an expat Kiwi living in Brisbane called Anthony who contacted me this week.

He has mates coming over from Hokitika and is not happy. Does he want a refund? Too late. Flights are booked, plans made, the horse has bolted.

As Highlanders' coach Tony Brown said to me this week, his posse of All Blacks were never in his mindset to play the Tens. There was more chance of Brown himself lacing up his boots.

So, in this world where nothing ever remains a secret, where transparency is gold, here's one for the "must do better" column.