Changing Top 14 rules mean fewer raids on southern rugby

There will be fewer Top 14 raiding parties in future – and they will want just the biggest names…

New Zealand All Blacks Captain's RunBen Smith’s champagne-or-Speight’s decision to re-sign with the All Blacks until 2020 will have drawn quiet sighs of relief in the corridors of New Zealand rugby power, after they had already lost Aaron Cruden to the big-money temptation of France’s Top 14.

Smith had been linked with Simon Mannix’s ambitious Pau, where he would have teamed up with Conrad Smith and Colin Slade – while Irish Pro 12 outfit Munster were also said to be interested in his signature.

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