IN CASE YOU WERE ASLEEP...
Here’s our undiluted opinion on all the action from the last eight weeks.
England having lost their last three tests finally enjoyed a victory.
It wasn’t in a test or anything important like that. Nope, it was in the administrative world.
They won their battle to select Hurricanes captain Brad Shields for their three-match series in South Africa.
It became a battle because New Zealand Rugby said that Shields had signed a contract that meant he couldn’t play test rugby for anyone other than New Zealand.
England laughed and laughed at that and said there was no way that could be enforceable because World Rugby have a clear rule that says all players have to be released to play in the designated international windows.
But, countered New Zealand, look at sub clause blah, blah and that says players with dual nationality can be blah, blah and because of all this blah, blah we don’t actually have to release Shields.
Except they did release Shields because they knew deep down that all their blah, blah was just blah, blah and there was no way on earth that they had any legal right to stop Shields from playing for England.
The funny bit was that in announcing that they had given permission for Shields to go, they said about five times they were doing it not because they had to but because they wanted to.
It sounded a little bit like the disgruntled employee yelling on the way out the door that they hadn’t been fired because they quit.
The only good line NZR managed was one about their surprise that England didn’t have any of their own players they could have picked.
It was a fair point because it seems a bit desperate that England are chasing a New Zealander who never actually got that close to being an All Black.
Shields is a good player and by all accounts a super good dude, but it is hard to believe he is going to transform England or that