Here’s our undi­luted opin­ion on all the ac­tion from the last eight weeks.

NZ Rugby World - - The Breskdown -

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

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