The New Zealand Rugby Union is considering introducing breaks in the season for top All Blacks to lengthen their careers after they appear to have gone cold on sabbaticals.
Rugbyweek reports that All Black star Dan Carter’s sabbatical with Perpignan which effectively starts this weekend against Leicester could be a concept that is consigned to history.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew says that his organisation would be loathe to allow such a deal again which means that no further All Blacks will be allowed to spend time playing away from home.
“We think it will be highly unlikely that we will have a repeat … of what Dan is doing currently.”
Instead of allowing players to take sabbaticals Tew said other measures such as allowing key players to miss some or all of a campaign like the Super 14 would be considered when it came to negotiating new contracts.
Players such as fullback Mils Muliaina or No 8 Rodney So’oialo who both come off contract at the end of next year could be offered a break in playing rugby.
Muliaina recently said that he was considering taking a contract in Europe and that he had investigated the option by talking to former team mates who had moved to the Northern Hemisphere.
Hurricanes captain So’oialo had had an enormous workload and could do with a break to extend his career.
“One thing we will look at for senior players, on a case by case basis, is the opportunity of having a break from playing,” Tew told the NZ Herald.
“If you look at someone like Rodney for example. I think he’s played in every campaign since he was 19, back in 2000.
“If he’s going to be any use to us in 2011 … he might benefit from having a campaign off.
“We want to retain that freedom.
“It’s not for every contract or every player. It will be very carefully thought through before it’s confirmed.”
The demands of modern rugby are such that players only get a real break when they pick up an injury and with the number of tests seemingly increasing by the year players get little time off at all.
Tew pointed to the example of lock Ali Williams who played a record 15 tests for the All Blacks this year.Tweet