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'The day you say that you can be an All Black from Timbuktu, then you're in trouble'

By Finn Morton
(Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Stephen Donald has slammed Beauden Barrett’s staggering All Blacks eligibility exemption request, as the star pivot looks to potentially head overseas after next year’s World Cup.

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According to a report by The New Zealand Herald’s Liam Napier, the New Zealand Rugby Union reportedly rejected Barrett’s request to base himself overseas while still being able to don the black jersey.

The two-time World Rugby Player of the Year has been a mainstay of the All Blacks’ matchday squads for quite some time now, and would be considered a massive loss to New Zealand rugby if he did leave.

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But the decision to decline his request will seemingly force Barrett to choose between the coveted black jersey and an overseas payday.

Speaking on SENZ’s The Run Home, World Cup hero Stephen Donald said the New Zealand Rugby Union would be “in trouble” if they let players “be an All Black from Timbuktu.”

“I would have no problem if any of the All Blacks who has put a couple of years (in) goes and gets the Brodie or the Beaudy walk back into the All Blacks,” Donald said on SENZ’s The Run Home.

“But the day you say that you can be an All Black from Timbuktu, then you’re in trouble.

“Guys are going to bugger off.

“When they’re all under the house of the NZRU, you know that he’s played this (many) minutes, you know that this is his condition.

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“Even the conditioning issue, that was Rens’ (Dave Rennie) issue when he was bringing guys back from overseas, he was always worried about having any sort of control over their conditioning because he knew… that the game is slower.

“There’s all sorts of reasons but undoubtedly the biggest reason is you cannot have guys overseas and being an All Black because… what’s left to keep the guys playing for our Super Rugby teams?

“Our Super Rugby teams battle to get crowds now, what’s it going to be like in five years’ time when your Beauden Barrett’s, McKenzie’s, Will Jordan’s are off playing in the European Championship as opposed to the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Chiefs?”

Australian rugby have famously relaxed their eligibility rules since before the 2015 World Cup, when they introduced the ‘Giteau Law.’

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Under Rugby Australia’s current rules, the Wallabies are able to select a few overseas players for the national team.

Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi are among the overseas based players who have starred in Wallaby gold over the past few years, as the team looks to work towards former glory.

The Wallabies had a tough year this year, there’s no denying that – although they showed plenty of promise.

But if the All Blacks were to relax their eligibility rules, even if it was for just one player, then Donald suggested they would have to look at their Trans-Tasman neighbours for an insight into their future.

“Look where they’ve got to,” Donald added.

“Look where Aussie rugby is at right now. They are a basket case… you would never want to open that floodgate, not for anyone.

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