Overseas players may paper over the cracks but in the end the player stocks have to be from within NZ's borders - no matter how good or how bad they are, writes Steve Hepburn.
The last time Otago and Southland clashed in a Ranfurly Shield match was in 2010. A train headed south to Invercargill, a crowd of 17,500 rocked up, and 80 minutes of high drama played out.
The record defeat against the Wallabies was a shock to most All Black fans. But is it the end of an era of All Black dominance or just a forgettable night where it all went against them?
Neither side going into this Saturday's Ranfurly Shield challenge will bring much form into the match but the trophy should ensure a decent crowd.
Otago and Southland are not alone in bringing in overseas talent to plug gaps as most sides look to bolster line-ups in the provincial competition.
King's High School got over a poor start to rack up its first win over Southland Boys' High School in more than 20 years on Saturday to make the final of the Otago premier schools competition.
King's High School will play Otago Boys High School in the final of the Otago premier schools final next week.
Injuries to Otago's outside backs have led to new names taking spots for the side's first game of the Mitre 10 Cup tomorrow.
There's a squeeze on and someone is going to have to miss out. Rugby writer Steve Hepburn looks at who is going to make the All Blacks for the World Cup. Today, he considers the midfield.
Otago under-19 will not lack for preparation when the side gets into its work tonight and when the serious stuff begins next week.
The Mitre 10 Cup kicks off this week and, as usual, there are some contenders and a few pretenders. Rugby writer Steve Hepburn looks at the 14 teams that will try to get to the big dance.
Highlanders boss Roger Clark says Invercargill has not been ruled out as a future host of Super Rugby games, but the franchise wanted flexibility in staging games.
Rugby writer Steve Hepburn picks those who will head away to Japan and those who will stay at home. Today, he looks at the outside backs.