Dane Coles hopes Silver Lake standoff with NZ Rugby won't lead to players refusing to play

All Black and Hurricanes captain Dane Coles is hopeful the New Zealand Rugby Players Association and New Zealand Rugby can come to an agreement about the Silver Lake deal without the loss of any players to the game.

Coles said on Thursday that he hoped that “both parties sit down” and work to make their relationship better “as it’s going down the wrong path’’.

Former All Blacks captain David Kirk, the Players Association president told RNZ on Tuesday that some players had advised the NZRPA they would not want to play in New Zealand if the Silver Lake deal goes ahead.

“It is absolutely a worry,’’ Kirk said. “I don’t know what the fans' reaction is going to be.“I know some of the players have said to us ‘I don’t want to play – I don’t want to lace up my boots and play for a business owned 12.5 percent [by Silver Lake, who will have the rights to monetise what the players are doing].’’

Asked about Kirk’s comments about the players not wanting to lace up their boots if the dispute remains unresolved, Coles said: “Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.”

NZR and NZRPA are currently at an impasse over NZR’s deal with US private equity firm Silver Lake, which would see $387.5 million injected into the organisation for a 12.5 percent stake in the game’s commercial arm.

Twenty-six provincial unions voted unanimously in favour of the deal at last month’s AGM and reiterated that again on Thursday.

Coles’ comments follow of both former All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen, and former captain Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford, who both encouraged both parties to put aside their differences and meet.

Coles agreed, and said it was important that both organisations “not have a closed mind” about the options being presented.

“We just have a chat and listen to the discussion. Some of it is quite full-on,” he said.

I think Shag [Hansen] put it the best .... I think it’s important both parties sit down and air their dirty laundry in a meeting room, and just make the relationship a bit better ...’’

Coles said the players feel “100 per cent” supported by the Players Association and the organisation has the players’ best interests in mind.

“It’s a big deal, and you can see there’s a bit of tension, but it’s just part of it,” he said.

“I’m sure they’ll get on the same page and be grown-ups about it and have a yarn.”

NZ Rugby confirmed the RPA and Forsyth Barr - who tabled the public offering - has been invited to meet with its steering group on Friday, but that meeting has been deferred because the players’ group can’t get all its key people there.