England Sevens star Ben Gollings could replace Crusaders flyhalf Dan Carter in the 2007 Vodacom Super 14.
With Carter and a number of other All Blacks due a rest in the initial stages of the competition, many teams are looking to plug the gaps. The Crusaders are lacking depth in the flyhalf channel, with back-up Cameron McIntyre recently joining Castres in France. McIntyre (25) represented the ‘Saders 17 times in Super Rugby and was also a member of the Junior All Blacks team.
Gollings, who has played at fullback for both Gloucester and Bath, has impressed with Tasman in the New Zealand Cup this season. However, it is not certain whether he will be allowed to feature in the Super 14, as the New Zealand Rugby Union does not allow players who are not eligible for the All Blacks or one of the Pacific Islands teams to participate.
But with the situation as it stands, it seems they may be willing to make an exception. The withdrawal of top international players will weaken the Kiwi franchises significantly, but this course of action is intended to prevent burn out ahead of the World Cup.
“We are prepared to be a bit more flexible and will take every application on its merits,” said deputy chief executive of the NZRU Steve Tew.
“The NZRU has a policy that it wants its contracted players to be eligible for New Zealand, but in 2007 there are extenuating circumstances surrounding these sides.”
If the deal goes through, Gollings will come into a Crusaders side that is otherwise stocked with backline talent. Gollings broke the world Sevens record in February this year, when he surpassed Fijian Waisale Serevi’s points tally of 1009.