World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry says the All Blacks should be restricted to playing in just three out of every four games in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
According to the Dominion Post, Henry believes the players will battle to survive a demanding rugby season if they aren’t managed cleverly in the Sanzar tournament.
‘I think we are [asking too much of our top players] and the New Zealand Rugby Union need to show some leadership here,’ he said. ‘If they want the All Blacks to play 15 Tests a year then they’ve got to make a statement about international players and the amount of rugby they play at Super 15 level.’
Across all three nations, there is a loose agreement between the Super Rugby coaches and their respective nationals coaches that they won’t overplay the Test stars. This agreement is not always adhered to, however, and so with regard to New Zealand rugby, Henry would like to see this agreement formalised and followed to the letter.
‘I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but I just think the NZRU has to show leadership here and say to the franchises, for these players, the top international players, maybe it’s a top 20 or something, they play three out of four and the franchise coaches organise that at the start of the year.
‘Yes, they will have some injuries, so it will change here and there, but if they can plan ahead and do that, I think it would be great. By doing that it also brings the players on who are operating underneath. Quite often they don’t play so can’t develop, but the reality is you aren’t going to win the Super 15 unless you use the whole squad.’