Rugby: the All Blacks test against Wales described as a “sham” by the English writer


All Blacks captain Sam Cane talks about his return from injury and his goals for the future. Video / AllBlacksTV

The All Blacks’ upcoming test against Wales has been called a “sham” by a British writer, who called on rugby to pull itself together.

The Daily mail Chris Foy said the Welsh side coached by Wayne Pivac have no chance of victory as they lack many regular players.

The test takes place outside the international window, which means that Welsh players who play in the English Premiership do not have to be released.

Pivac also faces numerous injuries and Foy hoisted the white flag ahead of the criticized sold-out on Sunday.

“New Zealand’s 104-14 loss to a weakened US team again underscored rugby’s urgent need for a proper and integrated world season,” Foy wrote.

“… The whole game is undermined by the inability to achieve a rationalized logical structure… the damaging overlaps between international and club fixtures cannot continue.

“Wales won’t fold as easily as the Americans against the All Blacks, but the sad fact is Wayne Pivac’s side – missing a bunch of regulars – have no chance of winning the out-of-window test .

“This will be another fictional game; an exercise in making money from a lag.

“As for the United States, their ordeal on the pitch will not have done much for their hopes of hosting the 2031 World Cup.

“The suspicion remains that they are only a potential rugby market in the sense of commercial gain, rather than mass public interest.”

Pivac were unable to select England-based players Louis Rees-Zammit, Nick Tompkins, Dan Biggar, Callum Sheedy, Taulupe Faletau, Thomas Young and Christ Tshiunza in their big squad.

Winger Rees-Zammit, first five eighths Dan Biggar and No.8 star Faletau started in Wales’ final Six Nations test against England. Wales easily won the Triple Crown.

Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi, George North, Dan Lydiate and Leigh Halfpenny are among the injured. Liam Williams recently had appendix surgery.

Welsh contenders include three Kiwifruit full-backs Gareth Anscombe, Johnny McNicholl and Willis Halaholo, but Michael Collins is injured.

The All Blacks will no doubt be very keen to protect themselves against any defeatist rhetoric from the hosts, as they seek to preserve a 68-year unbeaten record against the Welsh.

The telegraph James Corrigan once called it “the dumbest game ever” and an insult to fans who are being asked to pay ticket prices.

Simon Thomas of Wales Online said the same player availability issue arises year after year as the Welsh union holds a test against one of the southern hemisphere sides outside the testing window.

Pivac addressed the status of Sunday morning’s game saying: “I want to say that there is a lot of talk about why we are playing them at this time and if that diminishes the opportunity.

“The opportunity, above all, for these players and this direction is going to be huge.

“We missed playing in front of live crowds, and having a full house at the Principality stadium is exciting for everyone involved.

“To have the two best teams in the world, the All Blacks and then the Springboks a week later, the challenges don’t get bigger.”

Meanwhile, Rees-Zammit expressed his disappointment at being sidelined, saying, “This is the game (New Zealand) you want to play growing up. But unfortunately I won’t be able to play. “

Earlier this month, Welsh Rugby Union boss Steve Phillips defended criticism of the test, revealing the game could net the governing body up to $ 7.8 million.

Phillips fired back at critics, saying the hit match will be important in helping fund the local community and professional gaming, especially at a time when sports finances have taken a hit due to the pandemic.

“The first thing I would say is it’s nothing new,” Phillips told Wales Online, when asked about playing the All Blacks without England’s Wales players.

“We had a fourth fall international for as far as I can remember, and I remember a very long time ago, so that has always been part of our corporate planning.

“I guess we’ll probably win between £ 3-4million (NZ $ 5.8-7.8million). This is absolutely vital because that’s what funds the game. It also responds to many concerns that we hear from the regions.

“I don’t want to pique Warren Gatland’s ideas, but to be the best you have to play the best and they (New Zealand) are definitely some of the best.

“So you put on your trading hat. It’s sold-out and we could probably sell it again. In terms of financial contribution for the year, that’s fundamentally important.

“It then funds the game and it’s a virtual circle.

“It’s great news that they (New Zealand) are coming here. It’s great financially and commercially, it’s great for our brand. Literally, everything is complete – every ticket and every hospitality space.

“In fact, the team was looking last week to try and create a hospitality space, so I’m really looking forward to it.”


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