New Zealand v Austraila, Tri-Nations, September 19
All Blacks play down Tialata row
September 15, 2009
New Zealand prop Neemia Tialata during training at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, June 17, 2009
Tialata earned the last of his 36 caps against South Africa in July © Getty Images

New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith has dismissed the latest reports of a province versus country row in Wellington.

All Blacks prop Neemia Tialata vented his anger at the Wellington Rugby Union, his Hurricanes franchise and their coaches using social networking Facebook last month after becoming frustrated with his lack of game time. But his outburst has been played down by Smith ahead of a likely international recall for the player.

"The whole union/franchise is a joke!!" Tialata wrote on August 30, according to The Dominion Post. "Lions coaches and Canes coaches don't even talk but are both based in the same building, how do they expect us players to win something?"

Wellington coach Jamie Joseph didn't select Tialata nor his All Blacks team-mates Cory Jane and Piri Weepu when they became available early in the Air NZ Cup, preferring to maintain a consistent selection policy.

Joseph earned a mild ticking off from All Blacks coach Henry for his policy but Tialata was considerably more outspoken in another entry which he thought would only be read by friends.

"Can't believe I just wasted most of my life and sacrificed a lot for this union and jersey to be treated like a schoolkid ... that's the only thing I'm gutted about ... I can take being dropped and being on the bench but when a coach suggests to you to think about playing overseas while my knees are still good or reinvent my game and be that bench player or 20 minute man then said to take a month off ... I was like ... can't believe your saying this in my head."

Smith stressed the player's grievances were a thing of the past when questioned by the media at today's All Blacks' press conference.

"When you've got players and coaches talking about something they all love to do, it becomes quite emotional," Smith said. "Sometimes that's all that is and you can sort out issues pretty quickly. I see that as simply that, an emotional issue between players and coaches who all care about the same thing. If you can get back on that page, it can come right pretty quickly."

Tialata told the newspaper he regretted his comments being made public and that differences with the Wellington union had been resolved.

"I suppose I was naive to think they would stay private on Facebook. I apologise for any offence that I have caused," Tialata said. "The thing is that they represented some of my frustration, disappointment and even irritation I guess at not being able to play for the Wellington Lions.

"The comments I made on Facebook are in the past and don't represent how I feel now. In fact, I'm much happier now with my relationship with Wellington rugby and Jamie Joseph."

Tialata has played twice for Wellington since his posting and appears in line for starting berth for Saturday's Test against Australia judging by an extended run at tight-head prop during today's training session in Porirua.


Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.