Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Sam Cane calls on NZR to change All Blacks eligibility rules

By Ben Smith
New Zealand's openside flanker and captain Sam Cane walks on the field with his silver medal after South Africa won the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on October 28, 2023. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has suggested that New Zealand Rugby review the eligibility rules as he prepares to play for the Tokyo Sungoliath during his playing sabbatical.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cane joins backrow teammate Ardie Savea in Japan on a contracted sabbatical, but there are other All Blacks in Japan that are not signed with NZR and therefore ineligible to play Test rugby with the All Blacks.

Most notably is former Crusaders first five Richie Mo’unga, who at 29-years-old would potentially have many years left to play for the All Blacks.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

His three-year deal with the Toshiba Brave Lupus ensures that would not happen until 2027 at the earliest, however Mo’unga stated he would like to play in Japan “until I retire”.

Other players include blindside flanker Shannon Frizell, also at Brave Lupus, and Beauden Barrett who is on a one-year deal at Toyota Verblitz. Veterans Aaron Smith and Brodie Retallick have also joined clubs in Japan but unlikely to resume international duty.

Cane used the Springboks as an example of how their players have been able to manage the demands of international rugby after playing in Japan Rugby League One.

“A lot of the Springboks have shown the ability to play in League One and go back to international rugby fairly quickly and continue to play their best,” Cane said at an introductory news conference in Tokyo.

ADVERTISEMENT

South Africa’s Rugby World Cup final team had many Japan-based players including Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Pieter-Steph du Toit and now Cheslin Kolbe, who joins Cane at Tokyo Sungoliath.

“I think the challenge for us guys on shorter term deals will be returning [home] in the hope of playing international rugby again,” Cane said.

“If we play well here and get back, should the opportunity to represent the All Blacks again, that we can show that we’ve improved our games.

“If we can do that, then maybe the conversation can be had at New Zealand Rugby.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

Japan Rugby League One | Bravelupus v Eagles | Full Match Replay

Big Jim Show | Guinness Six Nations | England v Scotland

Vancouver SVNS - Day 2 - Full Replay

Vancouver SVNS - Day 1 - Full Replay

Life on Tour: 4

Wolfhounds v Clovers | Celtic Challenge 2024 | Full Match Replay

Boks Office | Jesse Kriel reveals the hardest team he had to play at the Rugby World Cup

Big Jim Walks and Talks with Handré Pollard

WHISTLEBLOWERS

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

R
Rugby 1 hours ago
The Simon Raiwalui verdict on the reimagined Pacific Nations Cup

Love it. Bula Would be stronger if the Pacific Lions did not poach the players. Current 2023 Mix. 1.      Samisoni Frank Simpson Taukei'aho  - Tongatapu, Tonga 2.      Nepo Eti Laulala - Moto'otua, Samoa 3.      Aniseto Ofa He Moori Tuʻungafasi - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 4.      Leicester Ofa Ki Wales Twickenham Fainga'anuku - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 5.      Emoni Narawa - Suva, Fiji 6.      Shannon Michael Frizell - Folaha, Tonga 7.      Sevuloni Lasei Reece - Nadi, Fiji   More recent others 8.      Pita Gus Nacagilevu Sowakula - Lautoka, Fiji 9.      Samipeni Finau -Tonga 10.   Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - Apia, Samoa 11.   Folau Fakatava  - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 12.   Sevuloni Lasei Reece - Nadi, Fiji 13.   Vaea Tangitau Lapota Fifita - Vavaʻu, Tonga   Others 14.   Anesi, Sosene Raymond - Apia, Samoa      15.   Brown, Olo Max - Apia, Samoa    16.   Clarke, Eroni - Apia, Samoa 17.   Collins, Jerry - Apia, Samoa           18.   Ieremia, Alama --Apia, Samoa      19.   Schuster, Nesetorio Jonny-Apia, Samoa   20.   Schwalger, John Evan-Apia, Samoa            21.   Tuigamala, Va'aiga Lealuga-Falesiu, Samoa 22.   Laulala, Casey Daniel Eti-Moto'otua, Samoa          23.   So'oialo, Rodney-Moto'otua, Samoa        24.   Toeava, Isaia-Moto'otua, Samoa               25.   Solomon, Frank-Pago Pago, American Samoa        26.   Muliaina, Junior Malili-Salelesi, Samoa 27.   Masoe, Matemini Christopher-Savai'i, Samoa        28.   Kaino, Jerome-Tutuila, American Samoa  29.   Fekitoa, Malakai Fonokalafi-Ha'apai, Tonga           30.   Lauaki, Sione Tuitupu-Ha'apai, Tonga 31.   Taumoepeau, Saimone-Ha'apai, Tonga    32.   Maka, Isitolo-Longoteme, Tonga               33.   Alatini, Pita Faiva-ki-moana-Nuku'alofa, Tonga     34.   Riechelmann, Charles Calvin-Nuku'alofa, Tonga    35.   Vanisi, Osaiasi Kupu-Nuku'alofa, Tonga    36.   Batty, Walter-Tonga, Tonga         37.   Halai, Frank-Tonga, Tonga            38.   Fraser, Bernard Gabriel-Lautoka, Fiji          39.   Jennings, Arthur Grahn-Lautoka, Fiji          40.   Solomon, David-Levuka, Fiji          41.   Rokocoko, Josevata Taliga-Nadi, Fiji         42.   Matson, John Tabaiwalu Fakavale-Nausori Highlands, Fiji  43.   Vidiri, Joeli-Nausori Highlands, Fiji 44.   Sivivatu, Sitiveni Waica -Suva, Fiji 45.   Williams, Ronald Oscar-Suva, Fiji     Rupeni Caucaunibuca played for New Zealand Barbarian, AB's almost got him but he went to Agen and Toulouse. Then rightfully played for Fiji.   *Sivivatu, Sitiveni Waica and Lauaki, Sione Tuitupu actually played for the *Pacific Islanders rugby union team before been poached.  

2 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING 'It just doesn't make sense': Ex-All Black blasts handling of Ethan Blackadder Ex-All Black blasts handling of Ethan Blackadder
Search