'I don't think that's healthy' - Beauden Barrett slams Kiwi 'tall poppy syndrome'

All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett has hit out at New Zealand's 'tall poppy syndrome' mentality, saying that it has a negative impact on our top rugby players.

Barrett, 27, has been a part of the All Blacks since 2012, taking over the reigns as first-choice in the number 10 jersey after the retirement of Dan Carter following the 2015 World Cup.

However, in recent times, there have been calls for the back-to-back World Player of the Year to be dropped in favour of Crusaders star Richie Mo'unga.

In a new book titled 'The Jersey' by British journalist Peter Bills, Barrett hit out at the Kiwi mentality of trying to bring down rising stars.

"I don't think that's healthy - I think you should be encouraged and applauded when you do great things," Barrett said.

"It just does annoy me when the general public bring people down to earth when really, we should be applauding great achievements.

"Whereas overseas, you do really appreciate the support you get over there for what the All Blacks achieve."

Barrett is expected to start for the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup opening Test in Sydney next week.

The move could allow both Barrett and Lima Sopoaga to play together. Source: 1 NEWS


French second division rugby player dies in changing room after tackle

The French rugby community are grieving the loss of one of their own today, after a young second division player died during a friendly match yesterday.

Louis Fajfrowski, 21, of Pro D2 team Aurillac, died in the changing rooms, having been taken from the field after 60 minutes after a tackle.

The young centre was assessed by doctors in the team dressing room, reportedly losing consciousness throughout the night before passing away at 8pm local time.

Club legend Olivier Magne told radio station RMC that the side were devastated by the events.

"It's a whole club, a city, a department and all the French rugby that are affected, who are bereaved, it's a family member who went away, it's very sad for French rugby," he said.

"It is necessary to wait for the autopsy, do not draw an early conclusion.

"But there is an evolution [in] professional sports in general. We are going towards more speed, intensity, violence, there are more and more difficult contacts and they could be avoided.

"We will have to quickly provide answers."

Magne also said rugby must move towards "less violent" tackles.

He said more tackles were being launched "on the upper body with the shoulder at the level of the head".

"That causes a lot of KO [knockouts]."

Source: Getty



All Blacks' haka has 'lost its mana', NZ legends claim

A number of past All Blacks have come out strongly in opposition to the continued commercial exploitation of the haka, calling for the pre-match ritual to be performed less.

Having been performed by the All Blacks for nearly the entirety of New Zealand's existence as a rugby superpower, criticism has always followed the haka, with many - usually overseas based - commentators claiming it as an unfair advantage.

In a new book from British journalist Peter Bills titled 'The Jersey', several All Blacks legends raised their own questions as to the haka's ongoing existence, and in some cases exploitation.

"It has lost its mana. It has become a showpiece. They should do it at certain test matches but not all," said former prop Kees Meeuws.

"It was good a few years ago when they had a choice. But now they play 14 test matches a year and that's too much as far as the haka is concerned. We should either have it at home or just away from home, like it used to be. Not both."

Meanwhile, Andrew Mehrtens labelled it as "too commercialised."

The late Sir Colin Meads, arguably the greatest ever All Black, slammed the overuse of the haka, saying it diluted the traditional Maori importance as a war dance.

"They haka everything now. Some dignitary or sports person turns up or a film star at the airport and they haka them. It is ridiculous. I think it has become a celebrity thing. All the schools practise it.

"It should be done before games but as a form of respect to the Maori. We were haka‑ed out there for a while and still are."

Peter Bills' 'The Journey' will be released on August 14.

The All Blacks perform the Haka.
New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa. Test match rugby union. The Rugby Championship. Christchurch, New Zealand. Saturday 17 September 2016. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
The All Blacks perform the haka against the Springboks. Source: Photosport