The All Blacks demanded a fee of £3 million to play England at Twickenham at the end of their European tour next year, a considerable hike on the £1.5 million England had to fork out for their last visit.
New Zealand have also rejected a proposal from the Barbarians to finish their European trip with a match up between the two teams, at Twickenham, in favour of a potentially more lucrative fixture against a World XV somewhere in the world.
NZ Chief Executive Steve Tew is intent on the implementation of a global season, and has stated that unless an agreement is reached, then the All Blacks will individually negotiate international matches on their own terms.
Maybe the British & Irish Lions would like to reciprocate ?
Lions tours to New Zealand have long been compromised to suit the hosts needs, with ridiculous match schedules, and when you consider the huge financial benefits the New Zealand rugby authorities reap from capacity crowds created by the thousands of visiting fans, it could be argued that the Lions should hold the upper hand in itinerary negotiations.
The Home Unions I hope will not give in to this All Blackmail, if it comes to it, the Lions can visit Argentina instead, or even play a summer series at home.
I’m sure the All Blacks major sponsors AIG and Adidas will not be too impressed at the prospect of their products not receiving any exposure in the Northern hemisphere .
I’m a huge fan of New Zealand rugby, they are best in the world but they don’t own the game and never will, their previous bullying tactics have largely been centred around the Haka.
In 2006 Richie McCaw refused to lead the Haka on the pitch at the Millenium Stadium, as a Protest at the WRU’s decision that Wales should have the right of reply with a stirring hymn.
New Zealand were informed of this eleven months prior to the match, yet decided on their course of action ten minutes before kick off.
They performed the Haka in the changing rooms (shown below) which was shown on the stadiums big screens, robbing thousands of young Welsh and All Black fans of the memorable experience of seeing it performed on the field of play.
There were some very pompous statements made about disrespecting the Haka which quite frankly were poppycock, and when a throat slitting gesture was added to a subsequent version of the Haka, New Zealand came tumbling off their moral high ground .
So stand firm Home Unions, there is only one thing worse than blackmail, and that is All Blackmail.