New Zealand Rugby has decided that it will release Brad Shields to play for England against South Africa next month. Though, they do not sound happy about it.
The New Zealand-born backrow, who currently plays for Super Rugby side, Hurricanes, is scheduled for join Wasps next season. The 27-year-old is eligible to play for Eddie Jones's side as both of his parents were born in England. He has been included in the 34-man England squad for the summer tour.
Under the terms of his contract, NZR did not have to release Shields to play in South Africa - it requires him to be available solely for New Zealand teams.
In a statement released via AllBlacks.com, it's said that Shields's agent and the RFU requested his release. NZR's head of professional rugby, Chris Lendrum, essentially said that they were releasing Shields as he has been a "loyal servant" to New Zealand Rugby.
Speaking to TVNZ, Lendrum had some pointed words for the RFU.
We're disappointed to have found ourselves in the position to receive a release request from English Rugby, but we have tried to put the athlete at the centre of our decision making and do the right thing by Brad.
Well it is not a decision we would have made, Brad hasn't yet played any rugby in the English jurisdiction. It seems highly unusual that they can't find players within their own country to pick.
During last year's November Internationals, Shields turned down a call-up to the All Blacks.