Episode one of Rugby Unwrapped with Scotty Stevenson

All Black halfback says professional players should be playing club rugby too

All Black and Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara says professional players should have more opportunities to play at club level, in The Spinoff’s new video series Rugby Unwrapped with Scotty Stevenson.

The future of professional sports is in a precarious position. With international and national games and competitions off the table for the time being, organisations like New Zealand Rugby are figuring out just how the game should look moving forward. 

The subject is explored in-depth in episode one of Rugby Unwrapped with Scotty Stevenson, where guest TJ Perenara argues that giving professional players the opportunity to engage with club rugby would be good for the game at all levels.

“It’s not a financial injection but it’s investing back into the game by just us being there. You might not play 80 minutes three times a year for Norths, but we might get 20 or 30 minutes in one game a year, which I think is a lot more beneficial than standing up on TV once a year and mentioning Norths in an interview,” says Perenara, a current All Black and Hurricanes halfback.

To ensure a vibrant game in the future, professional players may need to make some sacrifices now, he says.

“The time we’re at now it’s a critical time and I think we will be judged on this in the future, people will look back at this time and be like ‘how did the players react here, how did the whole organisation react here and what did we do to get our game into a position to be better and to come out of this pandemic in a better place?’ For us as players it’s about being open to different conversations, it’s about being open to different sacrifices.

“I might be retired by the time it comes back around but that’s OK, because it’s not about me getting more out of this situation, it’s about the game getting more out of the situation so that it can flourish for more years to come.”

Watch the first episode of Rugby Unwrapped with Scotty Stevenson below.

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