Last Updated: 12/07/20 9:13am
Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has urged New Zealand to be strong in their negotiations with Australia over the future of Super Rugby.
Super Rugby was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of the southern hemisphere competition happens to be being discussed.
Earlier this week, Rugby Australia (RA) chairman Hamish McLennan said their New Zealand counterparts want to dictate the terms of a possible trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, amid reports NZR are trying to find to limit the number of Australian teams involved.
Hansen said he felt that New Zealand Rugby should be doing what was most useful for their rugby players and insisted they owe Australia no favours.
“Without being controversial, we have been looking after the Aussies for years,” Hansen told Stuff Media on Sunday.
“And every time we’ve required something from them, specially at a top level, sometimes they have gone missing.
“Do we owe them something? No. But because we are the country we are, and we value the game a lot more than just ourselves, we bend and buckle a bit.
“I think NZ Rugby are in the mood for having strong discussions because they only get one shot at it.”
Much of the fallout has centred on the composition of Super Rugby from 2021, with both countries reportedly thinking about exploring a trans-Tasman competition rather than reverting to a tournament that requires teams from South Africa and Argentina.
McLennan told Australian media this week that the leaked statement suggested NZR’s preferred alternative was to have two or three Australian sides within a trans-Tasman opposition.
Hansen said the thing that was most important had not been to water down New Zealand’s player swimming pool with more than several teams also to minimise traveling for the wellbeing of .
“You have got to start with what do you want out of it? Rather than, ‘OK, we are going to have this competition,'” Hansen stated.
“It has to be really competitive and produce world-class players. If you allow it to become watered-down, there is too big a gap between Super Rugby and test rugby.”