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3 hours ago
New Zealand Rugby League boss Selwyn Pearson has taken the extraordinary step of writing to Kangaroos prop Shane Webcke hoping to persuade him to continue his international career.
Webcke has hinted at representative retirement after this month's Tri Nations series final.
But Pearson felt that would be a huge loss for international rugby league and hastily prepared a letter which was delivered to Webcke.
"We have never met, but I am writing because it is rumoured you are considering retiring from International Football," said Pearson, the executive chairman of the NZRL.
"Of course, you have to do what is best for you and your family but ... it would be a sad day for our game because your contribution has been nothing short of Herculean.
"You have gone way past the call of duty and ....I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for Rugby League and all the very, very best for the future, whatever that may have in store for you."
However, the touring and long absences from home take a toll. Pearson, who said the NZRL would be prepared to co-host a southern hemisphere Tri Nations with Australia next year, wondered whether a tournament in Webcke's backyard would coax the powerful prop to extend his stay in the green and gold.
"Back to back excursions to the Northern Hemisphere cannot be easy," Pearson wrote.
"The travelling, the time away, but especially not being with your loved ones, is tough. I am wondering if the 2005 Tri-Series was in the Southern Hemisphere, would that perhaps sway you into reconsidering retirement on the International stage?"
The international federation will discuss the possibility of moving the tournament to the southern hemisphere at a meeting in England on November 23.
However, it's considered unlikely at this stage that the Tri Nations will be played in Australia and New Zealand before the 2006 season.