Muliaina going nowhere for now


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All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina says the amounts of money being offered by foreign rugby clubs to Kiwi players were so great that it would be foolish for players not to consider them.

However, he also said that he hadn’t given much thought to the prospect of the New Zealand Rugby Union allowing contracted players to have a “sabbatical” overseas.

Muliaina has praised the NZRU for addressing the issue of player drain but said that the sabbatical proposal wasn’t at the forefront of his mind because his contract still had another year to run.

“I’m not reading too much into it really,” he told NZPA.

“Obviously, there’s an opportunity for guys that are coming off contract to be able to head overseas.”

Muliana says that he is hopeful that something could be sorted out to keep high-profile players in New Zealand because of the numbers heading offshore every year.

“It’s obviously known that the money overseas is ridiculous compared with the money here,” the Chiefs’ skipper said.

“That’s a lot of the reasoning why a lot of guys are going overseas and the rugby union can’t compete with that. It’s good they’ve thought about that.”

Muliaina is now 27 and has earned 55 test caps and he says that he still has ambitions to earn more caps for the All Blacks but hasn’t really considered his future beyond next year or whether going to Europe might appeal.

But he added: “Certainly, I would be foolish not look into those options because the money that gets put on the table is just enormous compared with the money here.”

The NZRU is said to have offered All Black first five-eighth Daniel Carter a deal that would allow him to have a stint playing overseas next year but he would remain in contention for New Zealand

Former All Blacks Doug Howlett and Craig Dowd had differing views on the sabbatical proposal.

Winger Howlett, who is playing for Irish club Muster, said the culture and variety of Europe was an enormous carrot.

“Having done what we’ve done for so long (in New Zealand), a change is just as good as a holiday sometimes,” he told Radio Sport.

“So if Dan can come over here and take that experience home, that will be good for New Zealand rugby.”

Former prop Dowd, who coached at English giants Wasps for three years, questioned whether the clubs in Europe would be interested in short-term contracts for players.

“It may (work) in some cases but in the majority no,” he said.

“The clubs want these players for 2-3 years, they don’t want him for six months.”

Blues first five-eighth Nick Evans also praised the NZRU for considering initiatives to keep players in New Zealand but questioned whether the sabbatical proposal would muddy the All Blacks selection landscape.

“Personally I don’t agree with it that much,” he said.

“You’ve got guys coming through and guys coming back… it’s all a bit iffy, you’re not really certain about how things are going to be.

“Just to go over for six months … it would be good if you knew you were going to come straight back into the All Blacks but that would be tough on the other guys coming through in New Zealand.”

Evans said that he wasn’t waiting on his All Black rival No 10 Carter to make his decision before making his own on where to play.

“Definitely not, I can’t live my life worrying about what another guy does,” he said.

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