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New Zealand Journalist Takes Issue With Ireland Poaching Potential All-Blacks

New Zealand Journalist Takes Issue With Ireland Poaching Potential All-Blacks
By Maurice Brosnan Updated

There is routinely debate about the residency rule in Irish rugby, but now New Zealand Herald journalist Gregor Paul has outlined the scenario that sees it become a problem for the All Blacks.

Joe Schmidt's side contains several players who qualified for the team via the residency rule. That much-maligned rule has recently been changed, meaning the minimum length of time needed to spend playing in a country not of a players' birth to qualify to play international rugby with that country increased from three years to five.

Gregor Paul appeared alongside Sean Maloney of Australian Fox Sports on Balls.ie's new show, World in Union, a rugby programme getting the outside perspective on the sport and the Irish team.

Paul recently penned an article for the Irish Times, titled 'Backstabbers or boys done good - how do the All Blacks view Celtic Kiwis?' He told World in Union it becomes an issue when it concerns high-quality players like Bundee Aki.

"Kiwis wash up everywhere. People kind of accept that is what is going to happen. If they have got particularly close to being an All-Black and then they turn that down, that causes a bit of a problem.

"Secondly, if they are not actually qualified through heritage for the country they are playing for, that causes a bit of a problem. When we have guys like Bundee, he is not really the problem, it is more the Irish Rugby Union who are the problem.

"This idea that you go around the world recruiting your next midfielder three years out from New Zealand to play for Ireland, I don't think anyone likes that idea. If it was happening in Australia I don't they would like it if their players were being picked off like that."

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Maloney did reference certain southern hemisphere sides tendency to poach Pacific nations players: "We've never done it with any of the Fijians or anything like that..."

To which Paul jokingly responded "No! Never happened."

Ultimately, the New Zealand sportswriter asked the question how do Ireland feel about a player representing them who did not grow up with dreams to do so.

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I don't know how the Irish feel about having guys in your team who are not born here, who do not grow up coveting an Irish jersey, that is a big thing.

Bundee didn't grow up in, I'm not sure what part of New Zealand he grew up in, but he didn't grow up saying I want to play for Ireland one day. That clearly wasn't in his thought process. It is probably back on the country that is doing it, how does it make you feel?

You can watch the full show here, which includes our team of the November Internationals so far and the remarkable story of New Zealand's new star prop who went from a bouncer to start for his country.

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SEE ALSO: The Ireland Team We Want To See Start Against New Zealand

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