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Covid-19 will stop All Blacks taking European deals, says Dane Coles

All Blacks star Dane Coles believes the flow of leading New Zealand players to club deals in the UK and France will slow to a trickle in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dane Coles is tackled against Argentina Source: Photosport

Veteran hooker Coles said the rugby landscape had been turned on its head and would force stars who were eyeing offshore contracts to consider their options.

The 33-year-old reckons more All Blacks and Super Rugby players would see out their careers on the books of New Zealand Rugby, which has been hit severely by the virus, but which is showing signs of viability, while European leagues struggle to identify a return date and are assessing their finances.

"You do appreciate being in New Zealand, especially with what's going on," Coles said today.

"We've heard some pretty sad stories of some guys playing in France. They're still in lockdown and their contracts have taken a massive, massive hit.

"I think it will definitely have an affect on people looking overseas in that UK-France kind of market. You might get a few old buggers playing (provincial rugby in NZ) so that'll be good for the provinces.

"New Zealand's not a bad place to finish up your career."

The English Premiership and France's Top 14, the world's two richest leagues, will undergo a review of their salary caps and the lucrative sums paid to offshore marquee stars.

New Zealand's top players agreed to a 50 per cent pay "freeze" last month, but they will unlock some of those wages if rugby is played in 2020.

That looks likely, with a local Super Rugby Aotearoa championship to be played from June to August, followed by a national provincial series and a potential Bledisloe Cup series against the Wallabies if travel restrictions are lifted.

Coles, a 69-Test veteran, said he and other All Blacks were excited about the novelty of a domestic-based season.