NEW Zealand players and coaches poured scorn on an International Rugby Board (IRB) warning yesterday that future World Cup tournaments could go ahead without them.
It was inconceivable the sport’s showpiece tournament could take place without any of the top sides, members of the squad said.
A row over the future involvement of the All Blacks, arguably rugby union’s best–known international team, started last week when New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief executive Steve Tew said pulling the top–ranked team out of the next World Cup could not be ruled out.
Tew said his organisation lost money every time the quadrennial tournament was staged and received the backing of neighbours Australia.
But IRB boss Mike Miller said while it would be good to have the All Blacks in England in 2015, “everyone is replaceable.”
“You can’t have a World Cup without the All Blacks, without any of the top nations. They’ve all got to be there just to make it a legit World Cup,” wing Richard Kahui told reporters.
Assistant coach Wayne Smith also rejected Miller’s comments, saying the New Zealand public would not stand for it.
“You’ve just got to see what rugby means in this country to think of it as inconceivable,” he said. – AFP