Duncan Garner: Rugby Union players' concern with proposed Silver Lake deal understandable, but someone has to pay

OPINION: What do we make of this massive offer from US tech giant Silver Lake to buy a 12.5 percent stake in NZ Rugby? Bloody tempting.

I can see why the bosses at rugby HQ have been keen to advance this. The All Blacks brand is worth massive bucks and Silver Lake is willing to pay $390 million for just a small slice of the pie.

That would mean that $39 million would immediately be available for distribution to struggling provincial unions, like a mass bonus to develop the game, buy equipment, give the clubrooms a lick of paint, and promote the women's game.

It's something I truly believe has been lost in the professional era. The trickle down hasn't worked, unions are broke, clubs are struggling, there hasn't been promotion of the game.

At my old club Takapuna we used to have two, sometimes three, under-19 teams. Now we have none - the players are no longer there. Perhaps rugby is too physical for some and they've walked away.

But our elite players are blocking the deal - they're sceptical and they're all powerful, if they don't want it it won't happen.

Is there a more powerful union in the country? No. When Rob Nicol and the Players Association say no, it means no. And without the best players on board, it's toast.

What are they worried about? Losing control probably.

Nothing really happens now without their say and we have seen this sponsorship creep with the All Blacks. First the jersey gets AIG on it, then we play exhibition tests in the USA - what's next?

I hear them, but someone has to pay if we want all this nice-to-have stuff and Women's Rugby.  Money matters.

Are the players being too precious? Do they have too much power?

At the end of the day, it's foreign investment in a local brand. Hell, sometimes it even saves your job.

This deal will be voted down, so what's the plan now to fund the game, being back at square one means all the same problems still exist.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.