Last Updated: 07/12/20 9:13 am
Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen urged New Zealand to be strong in their negotiations with Australia about the future of Super Rugby.
Super Rugby was stopped in March because the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of the southern hemisphere competition are being discussed.
Earlier this week, Australian Rugby (RA) chairman Hamish McLennan said their counterparts in New Zealand were trying to dictate possible trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition requirements, amid reports the NZR was trying to limit the number of Australian teams involved.
Hansen said he felt that New Zealand Rugby must do the best for their rugby players and insisted that they were indebted to Australia.
“Without controversy, we have been guarding Aussies for years,” Hansen told Stuff Media on Sunday.
“And every time we need something from them, especially at a high level, sometimes they disappear.
“Do we owe them something? No. But because we are our nation, and we care more about the game than ourselves, we bend and bend a little.
“I think NZ Rugby is in the mood to have a strong discussion because they only get one chance for that.”
Much of its impact centered on the composition of the Super Rugby of 2021, with both countries reportedly interested in exploring the trans-Tasman competition rather than returning to tournaments involving teams from South Africa and Argentina.
McLennan told Australian media this week that a leaked report stated that the preferred option by NZR was to have only two or three Australian parties in the trans-Tasman competition.
Hansen said what was most important was not to dilute the New Zealand team with more than five teams and to minimize travel for the welfare of the players.
“You have to start with what you want from him? Instead of, ‘OK, we will hold this competition,'” Hansen said.
“It must be truly competitive and produce world-class players. If you let it be facilitated, there is too big a gap between Super Rugby and the rugby test.”