Smith backs NZRFU selection policy
January 7, 2000
New All Black coach Wayne Smith today publicly backed the NZRFU's decision to select for All Black teams only players who are based in New Zealand .
He said, "Once players start deciding to go overseas then, in terms of All Black ambition, they've already gone, in my opinion. They go with my blessing, but to bring them back to play for the All Blacks would be wrong.
"It would send the wrong signal and start us on a one-way road to mediocrity in our country because we'd lose most of our best players overseas.
"The strength of the All Blacks jersey has to be the key and has been demonstrated by Christian Cullen and Jonah Lomu. They could be multi-millionaires if they played overseas but they've stayed to play in the All Black jersey. To me, if any other player needs a powerful motivator then that should be it. How can you play in a mediocre club competition in Japan, then come back and play for the All Blacks ?"