The “values” of the jersey of the All Blacks questioned after the summons of TJ Perenara

Former All Blacks great Sir John Kirwan has questioned the “values ​​of winning” the national jersey after TJ Perenara was included in Ian Foster’s rugby championship squad.

Perenara was the most notable name included in the All Blacks squad when it was announced on Monday ahead of their upcoming Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship series.

The inclusion of the 69-test veteran in the squad came after he missed the July test series against Tonga and Fiji due to a technicality contract that came into effect following his sabbatical in Japan earlier this year.

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John Kirwan asks if TJ Perenara is ready to return to the All Blacks | The breakdown | RugbyPass

Perenara spent the first part of this year with Top League club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes on his way out of his contract with New Zealand rugby. [NZR] end of 2021.

Unlike other All Blacks stars Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick, who were both also on sabbatical in Japan, Perenara’s contract at the time did not include a clause allowing him to return directly to the All Blacks squad. .

Instead, Perenara had to play rugby in New Zealand before becoming eligible to play for the All Blacks again, meaning he was not eligible to play against Tonga and Fiji.

Uncapped Blues half-back Finlay Christie was later named to the All Blacks in Perenara’s absence, with the Scottish-born product making his first two test appearances in the following weeks against the Pacific island nations.

However, despite impressing during both of his cameos, Christie was left out of the New Zealand Rugby Championship squad and replaced by Perenara, who became eligible for selection after playing club rugby at Wellington.

Christie will remain with the squad as cover until at least the Bledisloe Cup opener next month as Perenara gradually returns via the club’s rugby and NPC, but Kirwan has wondered if Perenara should be there from all.

Speaking on The breakdown Earlier this week, the former All Blacks wing questioned whether the right decision had been made to drop Christie and recall Perenara.

“It has nothing to do with TJ Perenara, I think he’s an exceptional player, but we choose him on the form of last year,” Kirwan said. The breakdown.

“He’s coming back from Japan – he looked really light in the photos I just saw – so why did we hold Christie?”

“Why don’t you just name it the other way around?” Why don’t you bring TJ [as cover], keep Christie inside and say, “We’re going to see TJ play at the NPC level.” I mean he is [only] played club football, ”he added.

Kirwan questioned whether Perenara, who has since resigned with NZR until 2023, would be “ready” for a rugby test if called up if the All Blacks were injured.

“I do not understand [why he is being named in the squad] now, because what is happening [when] he’s been nominated, someone is pulling his calf, like Dane Coles did last week, and he’s starting against Australia? Is he ready?

Kirwan said that having already been selected for the national team, Perenara did not have to prove himself to be selected, but ex-All Blacks centurion Mils Muliaina said the 29-year-old still had work to do if he wanted to come back. -assert yourself in Foster’s team.

“He’s going to have to jump someone like [Brad] Weber, therefore, on this level, it is obviously the third[-choice halfback]. He has to go back and prove himself, ”said Muliaina The breakdown.

The 100 Test international added that while Christie wasn’t wrong playing for the All Blacks, Perenara’s different point was his leadership, which Muliaina said could be lacking in Foster’s side.

Kirwan, however, suggested that the inclusion of Perenara in front of Christie, who argued for a rugby test while playing in New Zealand this year, discredits the “values ​​of winning” the All Blacks jersey. .

“It has nothing to do with TJ Perenara, and your [Muliaina’s] the argument is quite relevant, but what happened to the values ​​of winning the jersey? This is the end of it for me, ”Kirwan said.

“Nothing against TJ, your argument is correct, he’s got all the experience and everything, but just keep Christie in there, say TJ is our fourth.[-choice halfback] and he will play in the NPC.

Kirwan added that Barrett and Retallick have looked “a bit short of gallop” during their recent outings for the All Blacks following their return from the Top League.

Despite this, the 1987 World Cup winner considered Barrett and Retallick’s caps against Tonga and Fiji to be “correct” because of the level of opposition they were playing.

Introducing Perenara throughout the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship, however, presents more risks, Kirwan said.

“Retallick and Barrett did the same, and they’re probably a little short of canter, but that was Fiji. It’s good to take a risk against Tonga and Fiji. Now we have the championship. That’s all I’m saying.

“I’ll say it again: TJ Perenara is pretty good at this level, but we haven’t seen him for a year. I don’t disagree, Mils. To me, this is just a mixed message. That’s all. I just don’t understand.

Kirwan’s comments come after Foster expressed his displeasure with Perenara’s public flirtation with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL before signing his two-year contract extension with NZR in May.

Perenara hit back at Foster’s comments on Monday as he dismissed the idea that his interest in the cross-move was a tactical ploy to receive an increased offer from NZR.

Perenara is set to play for Wellington in the NPC’s opening rounds, which start on August 6, with Wellington set to open their campaign against Northland at Sky Stadium on August 7.

The All Blacks, meanwhile, will kick off their Bledisloe Cup series against the Wallabies at Eden Park in Auckland, also on August 7.


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