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Now is the time for Brad Weber to leave New Zealand Rugby and spread his wings

By Michael Pulman

Trending on RugbyPass

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It might be time for Brad Weber to take up on the offers waiting for him overseas.

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Publicly, at least, the jury remains out on whether the Chiefs skipper will stay in New Zealand beyond 2021.

Sitting desperately close to bringing up 100 caps for the team he loves, the 30-year-old confirmed he was in negotiations with New Zealand Rugby about extending his contract back in April.

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TJ Perenara has since recommitted to playing on these shores, and despite a high likelihood of missing All Blacks selection for the July home series against Tonga and Fiji, the 29-year-old is firmly part of the planning right through until the next World Cup.

That’s not to say Weber wouldn’t be if he were to stick around, but the pecking order of quality halfbacks making a serious claim for a spot in Ian Foster’s side is seriously crowded.

There’s Perenara, the clear second choice halfback in the eyes of many thanks to many strong performances over regular seasons in the black jersey.

There’s also Bryn Hall, a core cog of the Crusaders run of success in Super Rugby and a man that surely deserve a shot prior to the next World Cup.

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Folau Fakatava would have been capped this year had his season not been canned by injury, and back up north, Blues talent Finlay Christie is steadily taking his game to the next level and could break into the contender conversation shortly.

Meanwhile, Weber is fresh off the heels of another solid season with the Chiefs, completing Super Rugby Aotearoa at the top of the clean breaks chart and playing something close to his best rugby.

This might well be enough to warrant another All Blacks call up, but what beyond that?

If Weber is content on fighting for scraps in the All Blacks environment, he’ll likely re-sign, but he’s also smart enough to know that the selectors will have to look to the future in terms of their halfbacks.

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Only three can go to the next World Cup.

Having already turned down a handful of decent offers from overseas clubs, it’s fair to say that despite his handful of appearances on the international scene, Weber’s value has only increased to those overseas clubs just waiting to throw money his way.

New Zealand Rugby can’t match what those clubs are offering. If Weber were to get selected in the All Blacks for the July home series, it doesn’t make his decision much easier due to the lack of certainty beyond that.

There is much more to Weber than rugby, as anyone who knows the bloke will attest. Experiences offshore are waiting to be had, as are the challenges in the rugby environment that would suit Weber well at this point in his career.

There is not much left to do in New Zealand short of hanging in the fight for silverware and all the credence which would follow.

That doesn’t strike as what motivates Weber, frankly. Now is the time for the man to branch out and spread his wings.

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Now is the time for Brad Weber to leave New Zealand Rugby and spread his wings

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