'Arrogant' All Blacks snub Fiji centenary
May 21, 2013
Happier times ... Fiji celebrate winning the Hong Kong Sevens title in March © Getty Images
New Zealand have declined to play Fiji as part of the islanders' 100th anniversary celebrations, claiming they are too busy.
The Fijian Rugby Union wrote to the New Zealand Rugby Union last August seeking agreement for a June Test in Suva, Fiji's capital, to mark the occasion.
Fiji, who have also been rebuffed by other major Test-playing countries, will play a Classic All Blacks side featuring recent Test players such as Chris Masoe, Jerome Kaino, Joe Rokocoko and Sitiveni Sivivatu, along with the veterans Carlos Spencer and Justin Marshall..
In a scathing comment piece, New Zealand Herald columnist Chris Rattue said the NZRU's decision "typifies the arrogant, ham-fisted running of the national game". He continued: "Expansive, inspirational thinking is way beyond our boofhead rugby bosses, whose policies over the past few years appear to revolve around raiding the public coffers to stage a World Cup and the elitist treatment of our poor, exhausted All Black stars.
"Time and time again, New Zealand rugby treats the Pacific Island nations with disrespect. Everyone is expected to bend over backwards for the great God of New Zealand rugby, but the game won't lift a finger to help anyone else."
In the Herald on Sunday Gregor Paul described the Classic All Black side as" former big names, most of whom are well past their best". He added: "The growing concern for rugby observers is that the Pacific Islands have become nothing more than a rich source of individual talent for leading nations to pillage."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter