14 January - The lure of the All Black jersey and all that goes with it seems to be increasingly under pressure from the pound and the euro, and now also the yen.
The number of top candidates to coach the All Blacks when Steven Hansen retires after the 2019 World Cup, has been dwindling at an alarming rate.
Added to that, is the fact that the top earner of the world’s rugby players, All Blacks ”reject”, Chris Piutau who reportedly earns 3,38 million NZ dollars (R32 million) per season, is on record that he wants to be remembered as proof that rugby stars can leave New Zealand early to make their name and fortune in bigger economies.
Piutau encourages New Zealand youngsters to follow his move overseas at the age of 23 and with 17 caps to his name
Coming at a time when top-class players and up-and-coming youngsters alike are increasingly looking overseas to earn big money with Japan a new target, Piutau’s views is the last thing the New Zealand rugby bosses want to hear as they struggle to stop the ever-increasing exodus of talent to rich European and now also Japanese clubs.
"If I was to retire today, I'd say my legacy was showing that leaving New Zealand early, you can still make a career for yourself. I haven't looked back and regretted it even once," Piutau told INews.co.uk.
This weekend it also became known that the successful break-dancing and surfing coach of the Crusaders, Scott Robertson, has intimated that he may leave New Zealand to coach overseas, with a club in France his probable favourite target.
Until recently, the 22 times capped All Black Robertson openly said that he would be interested in coaching the All Blacks. But like the initial favourites for the job, his name may soon be scrapped as a candidate, although he does not preclude this possibility in the future.
The most prominent possible successor was current Ireland coach Joe Schmidt. However, the Ireland coach decided to retire after the World Cup leaving the No.1 side to readjust their list.
♦ The other leading candidate is All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster, who has been the assistant coach since 2011 and knows the All Blacks set-up. Reading between the lines, he would be Hansen’s choice as his successor.
♦ Dave Rennie, coach of the Hurricanes, was also in the running but opted for an extension with the Glasgow Warriors who he joined last year. He will be with them until the end of the 2020 British season.
♦ That leaves the current Wales coach, Warren Gatland, who also knows the ins and outs of New Zealand rugby where he cut his coaching teeth, as a serious contender.
♦ There is also the new Hurricanes coach, John Plumtree, who was assistant to Chris Boyd and who takes the reigns at the Canes for the coming Super Rugby season.
Plumtree played 62 provincial matches for Hawkes Bay and Taranaki in New Zealand, represented Natal 80 times including in Natal’s first Currie Cup up win in 1990 and also played for the Blitzboks. He later coached the Sharks Currie Cup and Super Rugby teams, and was SA Coach of the Year in 2012 before inexplicably and very controversially fired when former Bok captain John Smith became CEO at the Sharks.
Plumtree was also Ireland’s forwards coach in 2014 when they won the Six Nations championship following a turn-around of fortunes under the coaching of Schmidt.
♦ Vern Cotter, former Scotland coach, is another with national experience who now coaches Montpellier but is probably off the national radar after being one of the favourites in 2011 when Hansen was appointed.