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Video: World Cup winner Afoa gives frank advice to Northern Hemisphere players

By Nathaniel Cope

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John Afoa feels that Northern Hemisphere players should strongly consider playing Super Rugby if they’re to fully develop their potential.

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Speaking exclusively to RugbyPass the World Cup winning All Black feels exposure to a different style of play brings the best out.

“It’s a global game, it would be great to see some of these UK boys go down and play some Super Rugby. I think it is just great for a player to get a real sense of being a player down south, to see how they play, come up north and a Premiership-type of rugby, again different in the PRO14 and you get that flavour. I think it exposes you to different coaches and different players and I think it makes you a more rounded player.”

There are very few high profile examples of those trying their luck down south, they include England internationals James Haskell and Danny Cipriani and Welsh international Gareth Delve. Haskell played for the Highlanders, while Cipriani was at the Melbourne Rebels at the same time as Delve.

“Maybe it seems to far, normally the boys will stay loyal to clubs and they will stay quite north. It is a long way down, but I think a young guy, or guys in their mid-20’s just go down for a year, they will learn so much. A few boys in the team have gone down and played ITM Cup and they found it a great help. So I think as the years go on, the competitions start merging I think it will happen more and more.”

Afoa moved north after winning the 2011 World Cup with New Zealand and has played for Ulster in the PRO14 and Gloucester in the Premiership.

The 34-year-old’s next move is to West Country rivals Bristol, but he feels he’s leaving a side which is in good shape.

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“There is a lot of us leaving the club and Johan (Ackermann) has been great, all the coaches and staff have really bought into what Johan is trying to do and I think that is why we had some great rugby this year, that is why we made the final. We finished higher than we have for the last couple of years and when you put all that in and it doesn’t come off it’s hard to take. When you get that emotional connection in a team it is great and I am sure they will do better next year.”

Continue reading below…

Video: Ackermann furious with officials

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Afoa isn’t sticking around to watch the Champions Cup, flying back with the rest of the Gloucester squad from Bilbao, but he’s got a keen interest with Isa Nacewa and Dan Carter among those involved and feels it’s a difficult match to predict.

“I was lucky enough to catch up with some of the boys in the Racing team yesterday, texting my good friend Isa (Nacewa) at Leinster in his final game.”

“It’s a tough one, I have got a lot of friends in the Racing team, a lot of Kiwi boys either coaching or playing. I just hope they all play well, a double draw, a draw again and they can all get a little something!”

“It will be tough to call, but I don’t know depending on the weather maybe Racing could power up. But the kicking of (Johnny) Sexton might swing it too.”

Video: Sexton on Racing 92 game

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