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Craig Dowd
Craig Dowd | Columnist Index
Craig Dowd played 60 Tests for New Zealand between 1993 and 2000, including in two World Cups, and he was part of the All Blacks team that won their first series in South Africa in 1996. He played for the Blues and Auckland in New Zealand domestic rugby, and for Wasps in England from 2001 to 2005. In 2009, he coached North Harbour in the ITM Cup. More recently has been a SKY Television comments man.
Craig Dowd
Samoa 'hard sell' for All Blacks while money talks
Craig Dowd
May 28, 2014
Samoa have a good product but a poor business structure, Craig Dowd says © Getty Images

I've always said that New Zealand should do something for Samoan rugby. But forget the campaign to get the All Blacks playing in Apia. With the way money dominates international rugby it is always going to be a hard sell to get the All Blacks up there.

Samoa would be better off playing New Zealand in Auckland and calling it a Samoa home game. They could get the benefit of it at North Harbour Stadium, or Mt Smart or ECOLight Stadium. If Samoa aligned themselves with one of those stadiums they could play more Test matches out of there.

What Samoan rugby does need is a good marketing team. I know Andy Haden is trying to help them, which is great. But the fact is they have some good players and a good product but a very poor business structure. When the All Blacks get a sponsorship with AIG worth millions of dollars and Samoa get one million dollars for five years, it demonstrates the disparity that exists in international rugby.

Another issue regarding ALL potential international rugby players that needs to be addressed is the limitation put on players if they play Sevens for a country. As it stands, if you play Sevens for a country you cannot then play Test rugby for another country at XVs. New Zealand has capped players at Sevens who will never be in contention for the All Blacks, but the ridiculous rule means they can never then play for Fiji, Samoa or Tonga.

Sevens is a completely different sport. Being a prop, I never played Sevens and never wanted to. I'm a 15s player, so why should playing Sevens for one country prevent you playing Test rugby for another at XVs?

A change in that law would free up a lot of players who could play for the island nations.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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