Sabbaticals shaping as worse than rotation

The Man in the Stand November 22, 2012, 10:03 pm

First rotation, then sabbaticals.

Two words that once had no immediate connection to the All Blacks but now, I reckon that's who most of us think of as soon as we hear these terms used.

As opposed to rotation, I had no instant anti-reaction when the sabbatical scenario was first floated regarding our two biggest stars in the All Blacks galaxy.

Because like most fans, I needed no persuading to see the sense in nursing Richie McCaw and Dan Carter hopefully through to the World Cup by giving them an extended break before 2015.

These are once in a lifetime superstars who deserve to become the exception to the rule that says elite athletes are paid handsomely to perform and not to go missing in action.

But now that Conrad Smith has also been granted time out in the same fashion as McCaw and Carter, I'm feeling a tad uneasy.

My misgivings are as follows.

First, I see the likelihood of the exceptions becoming the rule.

If a senior man-in-black like Smith is to be given the same treatment as his two stellar team-mates, that surely means the privilege must be extended to every other long-serving All Black.

In particular, simply upon request, the likes of Ma'a Nonu, Kieran Read, Ali Williams, Keven Mealamu, Piri Weepu, Tony Woodcock and Andrew Hore can now expect a similar incentive when and if their contracts are renewed.

And not long after them, I assume for example, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Sam Whitelock and the Franks brothers will be entitled to expect a big half-time in their international careers when they've become further entrenched.

When granting a sabbatical to any rugby player, the presumption is made that it's worth paying them to stay away for a while to re-energise and that they will return and pick up where they left off.

Or why offer such a dispensation in the first place?

Putting the careers of McCaw and Carter on hold involves minimal risk in this regard as they are still almost certain to be the best available when they return.

But the same cannot be said of any not quite so blessed individuals and so the risk of them coming back with their all-round appeal somewhat dimmed becomes a very real factor.

And so in turn, any selectors would automatically have the unwieldy task of having to establish whether the returning player is worthy of re-selection after a prolonged absence.

All of which to me has the potential to become messy and unwarranted and which is why you have to look long and hard to find a comparable situation existing in any other sport to the same extent.

I'm not expecting this predicament to unfold in the same destructive way the extreme rotation nonsense unfolded in recent seasons and nor do I think Steve Hansen would let it develop that way.

But I am interested in your thoughts on the matter and if you share my unease, however mild it is at this stage.

So your thoughts please.

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  1. Stephen John01:21pm Monday 26th November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Andrew Hore, he da man! Maybe these guys are tired and this is there only way out. Whatever, he da man. Mr kick #$%$ killer. Bring back the biff.

  2. ebos06:29pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    What a load of rubbishLoretta Marie

  3. matthew06:05pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Let them go.. There is great young blood coming throw and we now have 4 years to get them ready for world cup because Richie, Carter and the boys are going to be slower and we've made that mistake in the past. Everyone has a used by date and the boys are getting there. If they go overseas its only for a short stint and they come back... they need new challangers so its good...

  4. Loretta marie06:05pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    If the captain takes time off to have sick leave and rehabilitation after knocks to the head i would agree. BUT the arrogrant men do as i say and not as i do attitude. look at the cricket? soo highly paid and not give a toss to the game. these all blacks do nix for anyone, just sell themselves to the highest bidder. Dan carter is a prize example of this. abhorrent really. sport is sport. these men are not playing the game. truthfully

  5. Perplexed06:05pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Woofee yelpa, po got that??????????

  6. Wharfies second in command05:56pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    p.s. this is rubme. NO one gives a toss!,

  7. Wharfies second in command05:55pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Mr B!! you have very little understanding about anything,

  8. Mr B05:37pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Anton you obviously have very little understanding of the ranking system. Beating teams ranked a lot lower than you means very little if any points. South africa are hardly a model team, as in last years RWC they choked big time with a very old team. This year the mighty AB's have introduced 9 new players to test rugby. Thats more than a third of the squad. As for luck and the RWC 2011. You win when you score more points than the opposition, and in a RWC final nothing else matters. France choked, and couldnt cope with the pressure. If the could have coped they would have won. Nearly isnt good enough.

  9. Anton05:28pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Rotation has not served Graham Henry well in the past,these players just become rusty old Rock stars,little wonder The French got rid of them in the Quarter finals in 2007! Not to even mention they almost took the WC glory from the AB,s in 2011,and why did it take the AB,s 24 years to actually win another WC ? It does not impress me if they beat countries like Italy,Japan,Fiji ................ect by 90-----0,and that way "improve" their world rankings,I think South Africa should play Zimbabwe and Namibia more often too..............and throw in Malawi for good measure!!!! The Boks coaching brings in new blood virtually unseen,and they are having mentoring from exp players,thereby having consistency in game time for all,sooooooooo beware,dont let the 2011 WC fool anybody,the AB,s got lucky!!! Maybe Daniel should continue his modelling career selling Jockeys,and Ritchie promote garages and play God.

  10. Perplexed05:17pm Friday 23rd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    But then you`d hafta compair workloads there netball fan.If our top Rugby players well what,They will get home from northern tour & just about straight into super 15,training. Boy if they keep that sorter pressure on the guys then they not gunna last long are they.




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