Overseas clubs are targeting young All Blacks more than ever before but New Zealand Rugby is taking solace that they aren’t being offered extravagant sums.
Chief executive Steve Tew says a New Zealand Rugby analysis into the offshore player market produced some encouraging findings, namely that financial inducements aren’t significantly greater than 5-10 years ago.
He cited the examples of former All Blacks backs Aaron Mauger and Nick Evans, who were both relatively young when they left for English club contracts after the 2007 World Cup.
The money on offer then was comparable to what has lured current All Blacks Colin Slade, 27, and Charles Piutau, 23, to Europe next year, Tew said.
It provides some relief after several other established names also announced their departure following this year’s World Cup.
“While it looks like the market is hotter, the numbers don’t reflect that to the best of our knowledge,” Tew said.
“There are no deals being done that are extraordinarily different to what we’ve seen in the past although there’s always going to be some exceptional deals.”
A good example of the latter, Tew says, is five-eighth Dan Carter’s three-year deal with French club Racing Metro, which will reportedly make him rugby’s highest paid player ever.
France continues to represent a major headache for NZ Rugby’s player retention team, with second division clubs now heavily resourced too, Tew said.
Two premier young All Blacks – lock Brodie Retallick and wing Julian Savea – this week recommitted for four more years.
Tew says while such long-term contracts are ideal, not many players are prepared to make that length of commitment.