It was a quiet sports news day. Then Simon Doull sprang to life.

The former Kiwi cricketer, now a commentator, had a clear plan for the New Zealand T20 side. It was incisive, sensible, timely, and brave.

Well, it was brave compared to what we get out of rugby union.

Read more: Kane Williamson and Mike Hesson need axing in T20 cricket revolution - Simon Doull


There was nothing vindictive or nasty about it, even though Doull was calling for captain Kane Williamson — the man many believe will come to be rated ahead of Martin Crowe as our finest batsman — should be dropped from the T20 side, along with another great Ross Taylor and highly successful coach Mike Hesson. Doull came up with his alternative squad, captain and coach.

Listen: Simon Doull comments on T20 selections saying that Kane Williamson 'shouldn't be playing' and that Coach Mike Hesson 'shouldn't coach T20 side.'

In the process, Doull encapsulated what many people had been half-thinking. He gave the fans something, he even gave New Zealand Cricket something to think about. He saw the problem, offered solutions minus ifs, buts and maybes.

How often do we get that from an ex-player in rugby? Justin Marshall has tried at times, and there should be huge respect for the forthrightness he showed when still playing, but overall our rugby players give absolutely nothing back in this regard.

There may be a few other exceptions — Laurie Mains has given it a crack now and then — but they are extremely rare.

All those famous men, all those mealy-mouthed words and silence. They are gutless, quite frankly, too scared — probably — to face the cold shoulder from the Rugby Mafia.

Here's one of the unwritten stories in New Zealand rugby right now.

I reckon All Black coach Steve Hansen has got the pip with his old boss Graham Henry. The men who brought the World Cup back to New Zealand, in 2011, are no longer tight.

The evidence is a pointed comment from Hansen which felt like it had a hidden meaning. It took a while to figure it out.

"Everyone back home was telling us how they were getting bored with us being dominant," he reckoned, after a win at Murrayfield last year.

Everyone? Make that Graham Henry. It's obvious, in hindsight.

My guess is that Hansen was cheesed off when Henry claimed that continual All Black victories were making international rugby boring.

Henry was correct to a very large degree, but Hansen feels that a former All Black coach and ally should understand the pressures to stay on top, that all those "boring" victories are hard won.

There is an unwritten code in New Zealand rugby, and everyone knows the score.

Here's the point. It's okay to disagree in life. Debate is healthy. Some rugby stars out there need to think about it, harden up, help rugby turn a corner.

I get sporadic emails from people along the lines of "Who the hell are you to comment - have you ever coached, played?"

While I take issue with the overt sentiment, they have a point in a way. We desperately need ex-players prepared to put their opinions on the line.

The media tries to find those people. They don't exist. Our big bad world champion rugby players run scared when it comes to publicly expressing strong and clear opinions their mates might disagree with.

It's why some people seem aghast at the brilliant Samoan tweeter Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu — finding a player who is such a courageous free thinker in this part of the world is like discovering a lump of gold in a sack of manure.

Tom Brady's post-Super Bowl behaviour received a lot of attention, but these are halcyon days in the NFL with players leading the charge against racism and police brutality while tearing down faux patriotism at the same time.

Sports like league and cricket in this part of the world are full of former players with opinions, who make life interesting and revealing. Check out the coverage of the English Premier League, for the same reason.

It's not just the threat of overwhelming All Black dominance which makes rugby so damn boring and irrelevant most of the time.

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