Lowering the tackle level to strictly waist and below would not only make the game safer, but also easier to officiate, says Sir Graham Henry. Above: Teina Te Rore with the ex-All Blacks coach. Photos Sarah Gloyer

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A substantial report into the governance of New Zealand Rugby published in September posed the question – can rugby still be considered our national game at all? 

Participation in the sport and spectator interest at the provincial level in Aotearoa are declining. Recent events at the Rugby World Cup resulted in questions about rule changes that often seem to favour the northern hemisphere style of the game, the ever-increasing influence of the TMO and tier one and tier two competition inequities. 

So how does all of this affect rugby at a local level – particularly on Waiheke?

Gulf News asked local residents Sir Graham Henry, All Blacks coach between 2004 and 2011, and Brent Impey, chair of New Zealand Rugby for nearly 10 years, for their thoughts. They don’t agree on everything, but they do agree that the club game needs more profile.

Currently on Waiheke – and in many other areas – unless boys aged between 13 and 18 play for their high school there are no opportunities to join a team and take part in competition. Both Graham and Brent support an integration of school and club rugby for this group. • Sarah Gloyer

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now Island Retailers and online


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