May 14, 2014
It's time for the All Blacks to play in Fiji © Getty Images
While it is great to see America hosting one of the world's best sides, there is another side of this fixture which is likely to get buried under the pomp and circumstance of Tuesday's announcement in Chicago. It is the All Blacks' shameful record of never having played a Test in Samoa, Fiji or Tonga.
This match in America is not about the All Blacks taking their impressive brand of rugby to the world, it is a question of money - morality and sporting responsibility goes out the window when millions of dollars appear in front of administrator's eyes.
When asked about the possibility of playing a game in the Pacific Islands, NZRU CEO Steve Tew said back in December: "It's very hard to fit in and very hard to make it affordable. If it doesn't work commercially, then I've got problems back home to resolve."
The All Blacks have in the past plundered those who were born in the Pacific Isles - Sitiveni Sivivatu, Joe Rokocoko, Mils Muliaina and Jerome Kaino to name but a few. While that tide is perhaps changing with just one hailing from those Isles - Frank Halai - being named in their last squad, though 10 in the squad had Polynesian or Melanesian backgrounds, the All Blacks, for all their talk of being one of rugby's pioneers, should be taking the game to the true rugby strongholds alongside pursuing commercial opportunities.
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Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
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