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Japan: Land of the rising scrum

3 2 0

OPINION: Mention Japanese imports and most point to used cars on our highways, many with fading paint jobs that succumb to our summer sunburn.

In rugby lingua though, Japanese imports have become the torrents of NZ-bred players and coaches flooding the other way depleting our elite player stocks.

Where the car carriers take three-and-a-bit weeks to reach our shores, all it takes for our rugby exports is a 10-hour flight to Narita, with minimal jet lag.

Some might suggest Japan is becoming almost a surrogate for the world's premier rugby nation, in what one wag said was "the land of the rising scrum".

* New Zealand Rugby cannot afford to let All Black Beauden Barrett and co join exodus to Japan
* How will the All Blacks team look after the Rugby World Cup?
* NZ Rugby up against it, but fighting hard to retain Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick

Last year there were 110 Kiwi players with Japanese clubs, which no-one can convince me is good for our game. In a rugby utopia we'd prefer them staying at home, but the lure of the yen is siphoning increasing levels of players.

Previously, there wasn't room for them all at home, but........

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