Special Project Players

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Re: Special Project Players

Postby neiliog93 » October 27th, 2016, 11:02 pm

Exactly. I would be very cautious of taking that article at face value. Kiwis get very defensive on the topic (which is understandable to some extent, because as I already said the issue does get overblown at times).
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby waterboy » October 28th, 2016, 9:47 am

Could you not just limit the number of project players who can be named in a international match day squad. Say a max of 3 players in the 23 could be qualified by residency?
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby LeRouxIsPHat » October 28th, 2016, 10:28 am

waterboy wrote:Could you not just limit the number of project players who can be named in a international match day squad. Say a max of 3 players in the 23 could be qualified by residency?


I've made that suggestion before too, can't see why it doesn't seem to be a runner.

A more draconian rule might be that if you qualify through residency then you have to play your rugby in your adopted country in order to be picked i.e. If Stander signed for Toulon next summer then he wouldn't be able to play for Ireland. I'm sure there are guys who wouldn't care and just stay for the 3 years and then leave soon after but no system would be perfect anyway really.
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby Ruckedtobits » October 28th, 2016, 10:50 am

Its worth noting two points:
1. Parental aspirations for academic or sporting or social opportunity for their kids is by far the biggest factor in movement from the Islands to NZ or Aus;
2. There have been many equivalent movements in Leinster Rugby over the years. Check out "scholarship opportunities" with some of the highest profile schools, or even just parental aspirations, which have seen kids move from anywhere to the best rugby schools in the Province, or even from anywhere in Connacht to Roscrea College. Joey Carberry or Jeremy Loughman moves from Athy to Blackrock may or may not have been incentivised, but they certainly weren't refused.

Leinster Rugby recently introduced new rules of eligibility for Schools Cup competitions which prohibit players being selected for a defined period after they change schools.

Having studied the Island players movement over almost two decades, my conclusion was that there was no simple solution that would eradicate the practice. It would be both illegal and immoral to take away from parents the opportunity to better the lives of their children, whether because of their academic, sporting or musical abilitity, by prohibiting them from changing the schooling or living arrangement of their children.

Yes, there are restrictions and regulations that rugby administrators could place on Leagues or Clubs to minimise the movement, or selection, of non-national players, but that is only part of the problem. The biggest motivation remains parental and player ambition to better their opportunities.
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby simonokeeffe » October 28th, 2016, 11:11 am

All sorts of smallish things that can be done/help but I agree theres no magic bullet, eg Island or Samoan super rugby side based in Auckland (but more money in cannon fodder from Japan or Singapore or HK) and/or NPC

I think what we may see in France but also England is residency eligible players being leaned on NOT to play for France or England as then the clubs dont lose them for periods

Was it IRFU or IRB who said Artemiev's boarding school didnt count towards residency/IQ? Would be interesting if that was applied towards NZ schools
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby Dave Cahill » October 28th, 2016, 11:26 am

Ruckedtobits wrote:Its worth noting two points:
1. Parental aspirations for academic or sporting or social opportunity for their kids is by far the biggest factor in movement from the Islands to NZ or Aus;


I would suggest the biggest factors for people moving from less developed counties to 'first world' countries are economic and political
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby paddyor » October 28th, 2016, 11:30 am

simonokeeffe wrote:http://tier2rugby.blogspot.ie/2014/07/the-truth-how-wrong-old-all-blacks.html

Really worth a read

The NZRU actually twice lobbied for the eligibility rule to be altered to benefit the Islanders, but it didn't pass through the IRB vote. As NZRU CEO Steve Tew put it "the reality is there is a group of northern unions that is very nervous about strengthening the Islands".

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Re: Special Project Players

Postby simonokeeffe » October 28th, 2016, 2:49 pm

listening to Nicifora on RTE about he was a bit odd, basically said look its the provinces that pick these guys out we have nothing to do with it (we just have to approve all signings, what positions they play in, and included projects in the NIQ limits)
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby neiliog93 » October 28th, 2016, 4:22 pm

Ruckedtobits wrote:Its worth noting two points:
1. Parental aspirations for academic or sporting or social opportunity for their kids is by far the biggest factor in movement from the Islands to NZ or Aus;
2. There have been many equivalent movements in Leinster Rugby over the years. Check out "scholarship opportunities" with some of the highest profile schools, or even just parental aspirations, which have seen kids move from anywhere to the best rugby schools in the Province, or even from anywhere in Connacht to Roscrea College. Joey Carberry or Jeremy Loughman moves from Athy to Blackrock may or may not have been incentivised, but they certainly weren't refused.

Leinster Rugby recently introduced new rules of eligibility for Schools Cup competitions which prohibit players being selected for a defined period after they change schools.

Having studied the Island players movement over almost two decades, my conclusion was that there was no simple solution that would eradicate the practice. It would be both illegal and immoral to take away from parents the opportunity to better the lives of their children, whether because of their academic, sporting or musical abilitity, by prohibiting them from changing the schooling or living arrangement of their children.

Yes, there are restrictions and regulations that rugby administrators could place on Leagues or Clubs to minimise the movement, or selection, of non-national players, but that is only part of the problem. The biggest motivation remains parental and player ambition to better their opportunities.



Yeah but you can't really compare lads from Leinster changing school (incentivised or not) to people changing country from poor to rich and then playing for the adopted country at full international level. I think you're right though, there's no obvious way to stop it. One indirect solution might be to pump money into a Super Rugby franchise in Fiji, with academies linked to it in Tonga and Samoa too. Wouldn't eradicate the moves, but would help.

And after the responses on this thread, there are a number of things you could do re. residency:

Extend the qualifying period to 5 years, block them from playing for their adopted country if they move away AND limit the number in any matchday squad to 3, and 4 in any 31 man RWC squad. And as a final measure you could make international teams nominate 5 or 6 eligible project players to be available for selection for the season ahead. So like in France if there's 10 or 15 eligible candidates, they aren't allowed to fill their quota of 3 in a matchday squad at any point in the season from a choice of more than 5 or 6.
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby simonokeeffe » October 28th, 2016, 4:46 pm

I like the quota for residency players for Tier 1 sides, not sure its fair or viable for tier 2 sides like USA, Canada, Romania, Italy
But then you have a danger of further enshrining/entrenching tier 1/tier 2

Japan is an interesting case as they got their gi's in a twist over Kirwan picking too many ronin and definitely dont pick as many as they can/should if youre ruthless

This may be Scottish centric but theres a danger of players signed as projects, on higher wages than theyd get if they were tied, blocking an indigenous player for 2 or 3 years and then just skiving off somewhere else for more money having been in an NH shop window eg Mike Coman or once theyre tied to new country leaving for better wages eg Visser or they dont work out

Also issue of how committed some projects are, think Italy have had a few guys who definitely didnt hang around international rugby let alone Italian rugby as long as they could have
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby neiliog93 » October 28th, 2016, 5:08 pm

simonokeeffe wrote:I like the quota for residency players for Tier 1 sides, not sure its fair or viable for tier 2 sides like USA, Canada, Romania, Italy
But then you have a danger of further enshrining/entrenching tier 1/tier 2

Japan is an interesting case as they got their gi's in a twist over Kirwan picking too many ronin and definitely dont pick as many as they can/should if youre ruthless

This may be Scottish centric but theres a danger of players signed as projects, on higher wages than theyd get if they were tied, blocking an indigenous player for 2 or 3 years and then just skiving off somewhere else for more money having been in an NH shop window eg Mike Coman or once theyre tied to new country leaving for better wages eg Visser or they dont work out

Also issue of how committed some projects are, think Italy have had a few guys who definitely didnt hang around international rugby let alone Italian rugby as long as they could have


These rules wouldn't affect the 'granny rule' (as far I know you can't stop someone claiming citizenship of certain countries in that scenario), so Tier 2 sides would be unlikely to be affected....e.g the second generation Samoans in NZ and OZ could still declare for the country of their parents.

Yes,there would be the downside of NIQ players buggering off for more money, but if they do that then they're no different to a normal NIQ signing which when you think about it really isn't too bad.
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby munster#1 » October 28th, 2016, 6:59 pm

Very interesting to read Luke Fitzgerald's feelings about the project player situation, and one that has great merit.

He found himself left out of squads while a project player took his place, sure injury ended his rugby career, but had he stayed fit the likes of Payne and Aki could have ended his international career.

The number of project players is on the rise, and it is very likely that Irish born players will suffer as a result.
Sure the old adage of if you are good enough you will make it exists, but that is too simplistic.

How many Irish born players are pi55ed off sitting at home on match days watching foreigners taking their caps?
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby Flash Gordon » November 1st, 2016, 12:04 pm

munster#1 wrote:Very interesting to read Luke Fitzgerald's feelings about the project player situation, and one that has great merit.

He found himself left out of squads while a project player took his place, sure injury ended his rugby career, but had he stayed fit the likes of Payne and Aki could have ended his international career.

The number of project players is on the rise, and it is very likely that Irish born players will suffer as a result.
Sure the old adage of if you are good enough you will make it exists, but that is too simplistic.

How many Irish born players are pi55ed off sitting at home on match days watching foreigners taking their caps?


If the players are better than Luke or anyone else that's not really the issue. Not being selected because someone's better than you is part of the world of elite sport. It's really an ethical question and that's it in my opinion. There isn't really any point in having international sport if the teams can be packed with foreigners, your national team just becomes like a club team that happens to be based in Ireland, New Zealand, England etc.

From an Irish point of view we are taking a morally questionable view for relatively little return in my opinion. Stander is a very fine player but is he a different class to the resources we have at our disposal? Probably not.
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby simonokeeffe » November 1st, 2016, 1:12 pm

For an interesting parallel the England Cricket board have now made it almost impossible to qualify on residency, think its 7 or even 9 years, after they got saffer/zimba heavy
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby Xanthippe » November 1st, 2016, 2:13 pm

Flash Gordon wrote:If the players are better than Luke or anyone else that's not really the issue. Not being selected because someone's better than you is part of the world of elite sport. It's really an ethical question and that's it in my opinion. There isn't really any point in having international sport if the teams can be packed with foreigners, your national team just becomes like a club team that happens to be based in Ireland, New Zealand, England etc.

From an Irish point of view we are taking a morally questionable view for relatively little return in my opinion. Stander is a very fine player but is he a different class to the resources we have at our disposal? Probably not.


To me it feels like our lads are expected to attain a certain level of skills/proficiency and if they are the best in the country at these then they have a reasonable expectation that they will be chosen first in their position. Suddenly players come in from abroad and the level of skill required/expected in their country is higher than in ours so they are 'better' than our players and therefore take their positions.

Maybe it's too simplistic a view but, rather than spending money on importing better skilled players, would it not make more sense to spend the money to import the coaches who trained them so our lads will have new targets/skills to achieve. Surely in the long run teaching our kids to be as good as (or better than) the 'All Blacks' is much better than importing players from New Zealand to replace our under skilled players?
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby Dexter » November 1st, 2016, 2:18 pm

Flash Gordon wrote:
From an Irish point of view we are taking a morally questionable view for relatively little return in my opinion. Stander is a very fine player but is he a different class to the resources we have at our disposal? Probably not.

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Re: Special Project Players

Postby simonokeeffe » November 1st, 2016, 2:56 pm

Dexter wrote:
Flash Gordon wrote:
From an Irish point of view we are taking a morally questionable view for relatively little return in my opinion. Stander is a very fine player but is he a different class to the resources we have at our disposal? Probably not.

Careful now....


:lol:

Xanthippe wrote:
Flash Gordon wrote:If the players are better than Luke or anyone else that's not really the issue. Not being selected because someone's better than you is part of the world of elite sport. It's really an ethical question and that's it in my opinion. There isn't really any point in having international sport if the teams can be packed with foreigners, your national team just becomes like a club team that happens to be based in Ireland, New Zealand, England etc.

From an Irish point of view we are taking a morally questionable view for relatively little return in my opinion. Stander is a very fine player but is he a different class to the resources we have at our disposal? Probably not.


To me it feels like our lads are expected to attain a certain level of skills/proficiency and if they are the best in the country at these then they have a reasonable expectation that they will be chosen first in their position. Suddenly players come in from abroad and the level of skill required/expected in their country is higher than in ours so they are 'better' than our players and therefore take their positions.

Maybe it's too simplistic a view but, rather than spending money on importing better skilled players, would it not make more sense to spend the money to import the coaches who trained them so our lads will have new targets/skills to achieve. Surely in the long run teaching our kids to be as good as (or better than) the 'All Blacks' is much better than importing players from New Zealand to replace our under skilled players?


was having a chat with someone the other day about Irish players being terrible at just waiting for the scrumhalf to arrive whereas SH especially NZ players especially forwards will just pass to first receiver if they arrive at a secure ruck before the 9, something like that is fairly straightforward to coach
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby munster#1 » November 1st, 2016, 8:09 pm

Xanthippe wrote:
Flash Gordon wrote:If the players are better than Luke or anyone else that's not really the issue. Not being selected because someone's better than you is part of the world of elite sport. It's really an ethical question and that's it in my opinion. There isn't really any point in having international sport if the teams can be packed with foreigners, your national team just becomes like a club team that happens to be based in Ireland, New Zealand, England etc.

From an Irish point of view we are taking a morally questionable view for relatively little return in my opinion. Stander is a very fine player but is he a different class to the resources we have at our disposal? Probably not.


To me it feels like our lads are expected to attain a certain level of skills/proficiency and if they are the best in the country at these then they have a reasonable expectation that they will be chosen first in their position. Suddenly players come in from abroad and the level of skill required/expected in their country is higher than in ours so they are 'better' than our players and therefore take their positions.

Maybe it's too simplistic a view but, rather than spending money on importing better skilled players, would it not make more sense to spend the money to import the coaches who trained them so our lads will have new targets/skills to achieve. Surely in the long run teaching our kids to be as good as (or better than) the 'All Blacks' is much better than importing players from New Zealand to replace our under skilled players?


My views are probably a bit archaic and definitely not in line with moat on here.

Imo international sport should be a competition between one nations best and another. Not a competition where we see one counties best imports v another.

It is very likely that we will have an Irish center partnership of Henshaw and Aki starting next year and for many more to come, barring injury of course.
We may also see blyendall starting at outhalf if his current trajectory continues.

Granted both may be better than ringrose and carberry, but imo this is wrong.

I support Ireland because I am Irish, and I want to see my fellow country men succeed, but if my countries team is made up of a large percentage of mercenaries such as cj, Tyler, Strauss, aki, kleyn .......... then it will definitely change the international dynamic.
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby CiaranIrl » November 1st, 2016, 8:39 pm

munster#1 wrote:
My views are probably a bit archaic and definitely not in line with moat on here.

Imo international sport should be a competition between one nations best and another. Not a competition where we see one counties best imports v another.

It is very likely that we will have an Irish center partnership of Henshaw and Aki starting next year and for many more to come, barring injury of course.
We may also see blyendall starting at outhalf if his current trajectory continues.

Granted both may be better than ringrose and carberry, but imo this is wrong.

I support Ireland because I am Irish, and I want to see my fellow country men succeed, but if my countries team is made up of a large percentage of mercenaries such as cj, Tyler, Strauss, aki, kleyn .......... then it will definitely change the international dynamic.


I think most would agree really. I certainly do. I can deal with two in the squad, like this time around, but if it was 5 or 6 it would detract from any win. No specific formula, and I don't suppose that view makes much sense, but it's generally how I feel. I also somehow feel more concerned about a young player not getting a chance than about a stalwart like Kearney losing out to Payne.
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Re: Special Project Players

Postby hugonaut » November 2nd, 2016, 9:44 am

fourthirtythree wrote:
simonokeeffe wrote:http://tier2rugby.blogspot.ie/2014/07/the-truth-how-wrong-old-all-blacks.html

Really worth a read


I found its snide tone and constant cherry picking facts to fit an alrerady reached conclusion when it was written in the style of an investigation into the phenomenon really, really grating. It was like some passive aggressive person who won't shut up at a meeting.

I'm not fond of the project player thing, but then I'm not fond of lots of things. Like imperialism say. Or that article.


Could not agree more, nor could I have put it as well.

When you have NZ/Samoan qualified players like Michael Jones and Frank Bunce selected by Samoa, opting to play for Samoa and then getting picked by the All Blacks after they have played for Samoa, it walks, talks and quacks like a poach. That is certainly where the NH idea that NZ poach players from the islands came from.

Sivivatu was born and grew up in Fiji, and got a scholarship at 15 to a NZ boarding school. He played for the Pacific Islanders* against New Zealand in 2004 [and against Australia and NZ] before being selected for the All Blacks. Incidentally, he was "first named in a trials squad for All Black selection in 2004, despite the fact that he had not yet completed his required three years of residence to qualify as a New Zealand rugby representative." [source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitiveni_Sivivatu ].

*The ABs also picked Sione Lauaki after he had played for the PIs against them in that tour.

It's not as though it has stopped entirely either: Waisake Naholo emigrated to NZ from Fiji when he was 17 to live with his uncle [source - and interesting read – here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/ar ... d=11481378 ]. He is a Fijian playing for New Zealand; he was born and raised in Fiji to Fijian parents and has a Fijian passport [ source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all- ... ort-family ].

In general, I think the idea they they are scouting the islands and kidnapping lads to play for the ABs is simplified beyond all bounds of accuracy or usefulness – there are loads and loads of economic and social forces at work there. On the other hand, saying that one body paying for somebody to come over and play rugby [a New Zealand boarding school offering a rugby scholarship to an outstanding 15-18 year old islander] is outstandingly different or intrinsically 'better' than another body paying for somebody to come over and play rugby [the IRFU paying a NZ/Samoan/Fiji professional player] is questionable. You could certainly make the argument that the IRFU are dealing directly with adults making decisions about their own lives, not parent making decisions on behalf of their teenage sons.

The part about us dastardly Celts protesting about players playing for two different countries at test level for convenience's sake is funny – what's wrong with somebody going to play for another country once they can't get selected for the country they wanted to play for, anyway? – and NZRU giving out about it is priceless. If they were really that intent on helping the island nations to grow as rugby teams, they'd a] hold off selecting dual-qualified players and b] host them for test matches and tour there in alternate years.
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