Hurricanes duo consider quitting NZ Rugby


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Chris Masoe (pictured) was left out of the All Black wider training squad and he found out about it via voice mail, a fate which was shared by his Hurricanes team-mate Piri Weepu.

Masoe has played 20 tests for the All Blacks and is said to be so devastated that he is now considering an immediate release from his NZRU contract.

Weepu, who was battling to try and regain the All Black No 9 jersey, is committed to playing out the 2008 season in New Zealand.

He will however make a decision on whether to quit New Zealand rugby in June factoring in possible move to Europe or to Rugby League.

Both players are managed by Bruce Sharrock and he spoke of how the players found out they were not wanted by the All Blacks.

“To be perfectly honest, they were voice messages so they haven’t had the opportunity to talk to anyone.”

Masoe has a contract until the end of 2008 but Sharrock said talks had begun on the wisdom of executing a get-out early clause in his contract.

“Chris has an option to get out,” Sharrock told Yahoo!Xtra.

“We are talking already about the various options.”

Weepu however will see out 2008, including playing for Wellington in the Air New Zealand Cup.

He is also available for selection for the New Zealand Maori team in their upcoming IRB Pacific Nations Cup campaign.

“We will sit down in June,” Sharrock said.

“We will stick to the original plan of working out what he wants to do, whether it is a change of code, whether it is an off-shore venture.

“It just depends as to where he is at and what he wants to be doing.”

Weepu’s omission from the 25-strong initial training squad is not terribly surprising given that he was not used as one of the three halfback spots in the All Black Rugby World Cup squad.

His form for the Hurricanes has also not been consistent enough to demand a recall for the first tests of 2008.

Instead of Weepu Henry has included Jimmy Cowan and Brendon Leonard in his training squad. Andy Ellis is also ranked among the top three halfbacks in the country, but will miss the training camp due to Crusaders commitments.

Masoe’s omission is however much more of a surprise because for the past three test seasons the All Blacks coaching staff have developed him into a utility loose forward, often covering all three positions off the bench.

His efforts at No 6 for the Hurricanes during Jerry Collins’ injury-enforced defection during the Super 14 were eye-opening.

But obviously the All Black brains trust have seen things differently and Sharrock believes Masoe had been a victim of a major mind-set change by the All Blacks’ coaching staff.

“They are both disappointed which is the norm, probably Chris more-so than Piri,” Sharrock said.

“Piri had to play his way back in. It is arguable whether or not he has done that.

“Chris on the other hand has been there for three years and been an instrumental part. And his form has form has been OK but I think their mix is going to be somewhat different this year.

“After turning him into a utility, playing 6, 7 and 8, I think they are now going for (specialist) 6s, 8s and 7s.

“He is a victim of a change of plan.”

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