‘It wasn’t discussed’: All Blacks to keep selection ban on overseas based players, even as more head abroad

All Blacks coach Scott Robertson will not be able to pick overseas-based players in his squad any time soon, with New Zealand Rugby seeing no need to alter its selection ban.

New Zealand has long confined Test eligibility to home-based players in order to protect its domestic competitions, a rule some pundits say is outdated and could hurt the three-times world champions in the long run.

When his appointment as head coach was announced in April, Robertson said he would be open to picking overseas players.

However, NZR boss Mark Robinson said the subject had not even come up at the governing body’s final board meeting of the year on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t discussed,” he told New Zealand media.

New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga is headed to Japan. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

“We’re certainly unsurprised by the fact after a World Cup year with a number of players departing this sort of thing comes up.

“We’re really clear on our protocols, and think they’ve been a critical part of the All Blacks’ success over a long time, but also acknowledge the world is changing and from time to time those discussions need to happen.

“For now we’re really happy with where the policy sits.”

A number of All Blacks headed abroad after the team’s run to the World Cup final in France, including flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, who signed a multi-year deal to play for a Japanese club and is now ineligible for Test selection.

South Africa previously limited selection to overseas players with at least 30 Test caps but ditched the policy in 2018.

The Springboks won the World Cup in Japan the following year and successfully defended their title in France.

Australia also has curbs on picking overseas-based players, with previous coaches Eddie Jones and Dave Rennie allowed only three picks per series or tournament.

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