Sunday, October 22, 2006


Air New Zealand has confirmed that in keeping with it’s policy of moving it’s operations off-shore the National Provincial Rugby Competition will be played in Asia from next year.
The move, announced by Air NZ chairman John Palmer as he presented the 2006 trophy to victorious Waikato, will see all current provincial teams disbanded and re-established in Asia where crowds are expected to be bigger, costs lower and television rights more lucrative. The move follows recent out-sourcing of engineering services to China, clerical work to Fiji and plans to send baggage-handling and ticketing to Spain.

Speaking at Rugby Park in Hamilton Mr Palmer said that “running the competition on the Asian continent with it’s greater size and more competitive cost structures makes more sense than continuing to play rugby in a couple of insignificant islands far from major population centres"
Speaking to an exhilarated Waikato crowd Mr Palmer said, “By taking the competition to Asia we will grow the game and attract more customers to the National Airline. I’m sure you will be as excited as I am at the prospect of the Waikato Provincial team being re-located to a part of the world where the people regard the cow even more sacredly than here in Hamilton. Next year your team will be based in Mumbai.”
The Chairman went on to say that the Bay of Plenty team will re-form in Bali while Wellington is expected to make a seamless transfer to Pyongyang in North Korea. Auckland will be based in Hong Kong while Southland will relocate to the miserably cold Vladivostok where Tim Shadbolt is expected to run for the mayoralty.
The Kiwi Herald understands that Air New Zealand is confident it can save on player salaries by seeking out new recruits throughout Asia. Rugby scouts believe there is a ready supply of super-fit, nippy half-backs in the Himilayas and an answer to hooking problems in Thailand. Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan may well provide a brace of explosive runners and ruthless counter-attackers.

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