Ian Foster fires warning to New Zealand Rugby over Super Rugby’s future

Ian Foster insists that Super Rugby needs to change or the All Blacks risk slipping behind the rest of the world.

It used to be the biggest club event in the game, but over time, its quality, interest level, and level of competition have gradually decreased.

It has had several failed attempts to grow, and after Covid in 2020, it shrank in size when the South African franchises were eliminated from the tournament.

Since then, they have sided with the northern hemisphere, making Australia and New Zealand the only remaining major Super Rugby participating nations.

Introduction of Pacific Island sides

Super Rugby Pacific was created by adding Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua, although its spectacle value has now been surpassed by that of Europe.

Foster said to The Platform, “The Super Rugby competition needs a massive amount of attention.”

“We need to ensure that Super Rugby is a sustainable league, that our players participate as much as they can, and that they play for sides who have a variety of playing styles.

We had to play ourselves in Super Rugby Aotearoa after being somewhat whittled down by Covid. We needed the better part of 2022 and 2023, in my opinion, to recover somewhat on the global stage.

“What the solutions are, I’m not sure, but it’s got to be at the top of the tree (to sort out).”

Foster is also worried about the paths in New Zealand since their age-grade teams aren’t as dominant as they once were.

After the world U20 championship was established in 2008, the Baby Blacks won the first four of them, but they have only won it twice more since.

The previous head coach of New Zealand stated, “I think we have strong Super Rugby clubs, which is critical for the All Blacks, but the only way to grow those clubs is to develop and fine-tune our development system underneath that.”

“The process by which we develop players is unclear in that regard. In the U20 age category, we haven’t performed well in a while.

Scott Robertson’s options

Foster doesn’t think that his successor as All Blacks boss, Scott Robertson, should have a problem in building a quality side, however.

The 58-year-old believes that he has left the squad in a good place and that the departures of some key players

ought not to cause too much disturbance.

“I believe we have lost eight players, and six of those are considered to be legendary. The truth is that this occurs during every World Cup, and this year’s losses are practically lower than those from the previous two,” he continued.

“A lot of younger guys have joined the team during the previous two years, which is something that may have gone a little bit underappreciated.

“In another four years, a large portion of the team is probably still there. Especially, some of those forward pack is really young. That puts us in a great position to succeed in the upcoming time frame.

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