New All Blacks coach drops bombshell, wants overseas players to be eligible

New All Blacks coach drops bombshell, wants overseas players to be eligible

All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson has asked New Zealand rugby bosses to keep an "open mind" regarding the selection of overseas-based players.

As it stands only players who are plying their trade in New Zealand can be selected for the All Blacks making the next year very interesting with as many as 12 players from last year's Rugby World Cup playing abroad.

It has been an increasingly debated topic in New Zealand particularly with opening up the selection policy working for other countries like South Africa. Former Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber recently claimed having players abroad has several benefits including creating new talent pathways for young players coming through.

Robertson has only just begun his tenure as All Blacks boss but has never been one to shy away from innovation.

"I've presented to the board, the CEOs of the Super Rugby (teams), the (provincial unions), Heartland (unions)... about just keeping an open mind with where we are in that space," Robertson said on Tuesday.

"That's what I've asked for - not to have someone come and play for us, but to keep an open mind about where the game is currently.

"It's moving quite quickly, as we know. There are a lot of on and off-field decisions to be a step ahead of."

Of the players that have left abroad, some including Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Beauden Barrett are on short-term deals which will see them return in the middle of the year.

One of the biggest losses through overseas departures is mercurial flyhalf Richie Mo'unga who knows Robertson very well from their extremely successful stint at the Crusaders but has signed a three-year deal to play in Japan.

Robertson did not reveal any more about whether or not the selection policy would realistically change but he maintained that selecting the best possible team is important.

"I just want to keep an open mind, so I can select the best players available to the All Blacks."

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