All Blacks boss Ian Foster claims ‘We’ve missed playing South Africa in Super Rugby’ amid South African giants split into northern hemisphere

All Blacks coach Ian Foster feels the lack of South African teams in Super Rugby has adversely affected the New Zealand game.

South Africa’s top franchises – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers – now ply their trade in the northern hemisphere’s United Rugby Championship, with their last taste of Super Rugby action coming before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down world sport in March 2020.

“I think we’ve definitely missed playing South Africa in Super Rugby,” Foster told New Zealand’s Stuff website.

“Just the sheer size of the players, and the fact that maybe they don’t allow you to play as much rugby as you want to play.”

The Kiwis have since played their own local Super Rugby Aotearoa and a Trans-Tasman event with Australia. Next year, the competition will be known as Super Rugby Pacific, with Pacific Island franchises, Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua, added to the mix.

The All Blacks won 12 out of 15 Tests in 2021, but lost back-to-back matches against Ireland and France to finish the year ranked No 2 behind the Springboks.

“Reviewing is a multifaceted thing and everyone will find different ways to do it,” Foster added as he reflected on the season.

“For us, we do a review every week. We get used to having pretty tough conversations with each other after Test matches and after training sessions.

“I think the challenge when you review is to make sure it doesn’t turn into a judgment from one group to the other.”


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