The All Blacks are taking their circus to the United States of America, a circus in a positive sense. Hats off to them, it's an initiative that shows forward thinking and growth that hasn't always been evident in New Zealand Rugby's headquarters, or many other NZ sporting headquarters for that matter.
The All Blacks travel to a land where no one cares about rugby. And if they do care about rugby, it's because they're poking fun at it - silly men who like to pile on top of each other for fun. It's a good opportunity to fall back in your lazy-boy and realise how little you, we and the All Blacks matter in the world. We're just New Zealand, or Middle Earth.
Heading to the USA is obviously a top shelf marketing ploy. It's good to see the NZRU taking it upon themselves to take the game there, they'll reap the rewards but it is also beneficial in many other ways. It's a refreshing tour for the players, whereas they would normally tour and be noticed, have to deal with the different situations that come with being recognised in the streets but in the USA they can have fun. Have fun, I mean be normal tourists but stay fit and on point at the same time.
There's absolutely no reason to roll out a full strength side. We all know what would happen should the All Blacks best side run out on to Soldier Field, so it's a good opportunity to field guys who deserve a chance and guys in situations like Sonny Bill Williams. It wouldn't be great for business if the All Blacks bamboozled the Americans 78-0 would it? They still might though...
The All Blacks coaching staff and the NZRU must juggle the desire to expand and play more games in far off corners of the globe, with managing their players. Besides expanding the game and the financial benefits, these games can be used to provide opportunities for players, see what their made of, ya know if you still rest and rotation is a negative then you're living in the stone age.
The All Blacks are the biggest brand in rugby. Forget Nike, Gilbert or Adidas, the All Blacks are the pinnacle so the further the All Blacks brand can stretch, the better. How can they continue to expand on this? Well before they head to Europe each year, they can stop over in Japan or the USA as they have done. I mean I wouldn't complain if they decided not to head to England, Scotland, Ireland and France one year and went to Japan, the USA, China, Samoa and Fiji. They'd have to figure out how it balanced the books, but why not? The All Blacks have the power so they might as well put it to good use.
Regardless of the result, heading to the USA is a fantastic move and we should support in to the fullest. It marks, well it could mark a new era where the All Blacks put the burden on their shoulders and expand the game themselves, in turn expanding their brand and the perception of New Zealand. Can you forgive me for not really getting in to rugby a whole lot when it's the same old same old? There isn't much freshness. Things like this get me excited and bring out the rugby fan in me so big up big up to all involved.