Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read has called on Australia’s Super Rugby teams to step up for the sake of the Kiwis playing in the new Super Rugby Pacific competition.
Read, speaking on Sky Sport NZ, has predicted a win rate of 80-90 percent by Kiwi teams over their Aussie rivals, and bemoaned the loss of tough South African contests from the competition.
The Crusaders legend said: “I think if you look across the board at the competition next year, you’re going to probably look at a 90 per cent, 80 per cent win rate for New Zealand teams.
“That’s not great for the competition, and it’s not going to be great for the guys playing the games.
“So, we do need Australia to step up and hopefully improve their performances.”
New Zealand teams won 23 out of 25 games against Australian sides in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman after the two countries had their own internal battles this year.
The Hurricanes finished last in Super Rugby Aotearoa but comfortably beat Super Rugby AU victors Queensland Reds.
The issues over the lack of depth in Australia’s teams has led to suggestions that a draft system seeing New Zealand players join Aussie franchises
But New Zealand Rugby general manager professional rugby and high performance Chris Lendrum has ruled it out in the short term, while saying it is something that could be considered.
“The short answer is not right now,” Lendrum was reported as saying on Monday.
“[But] in the future you can’t rule that out. There are a lot of different factors to take into account in rugby as opposed to the NRL.
“We’re certainly focused on making a really strong start to this competition, and watching strength and depth build throughout this competition.
“…while we want to focus on making this competition as exciting as possible, of course as the governing body you have to keep an eye on the strength of our All Blacks, which is obviously pivotal.
“[But] we’re certainly not saying no. We’re open to those discussions in the future, but it has to be on a principled basis where it makes sense for all parties.”
Meanwhile, French billionaire Mohed Altrad, whose company is the All Blacks new naming rights jersey sponsor, has revealed details about the sponsorship.
Altrad Group, owned by the 73-year-old entrepreneur, will replace AIG at the end of the year in a deal reported to be worth more than $NZ120 million.
Altrad reportedly beat Amazon and a major Japanese corporation to secure the naming rights on the All Blacks jersey for the next six years.
He told a French website that as part of the deal there would be four national matches in Montpellier over the next four years involving the All Blacks, All Blacks B, Māori and Black Ferns, while former All Blacks would be fast-tracked intot the Top 14 club.
The building supplies company also owns Montpellier Hérault Rugby (MHR) and its name appears on the front of the jersey of the French national team.