Although he has always defended Super Rugby’s All Blacks rest protocols, Chief Executive Officer for New Zealand Rugby Mark Robinson has let it be known that the contentious policy will be reviewed later on in 2020.
Known as the Load Management Policy, it has come under fire from commentators and coaches alike. Critics say that it alienates supporters, devalues the contest, and hurts players’ careers.
Tony Brown, assistant coach for the Highlanders, recently expressed his concerns over the approach, saying that it has already cost several players their careers. He said that it has long been the approach to athletes like Dan Carter, Kieran Read, and Richie McCaw who need the rest, but to keep it even NZ Rugby has made every All Black resting mandatory.
Brown said that he thinks it cost a few of the national team’s players their careers. He mentioned Highlanders like Elliot Dixon, Malakai Fekitoa, and Waisake Naholo, saying that they didn’t get enough playing time in. He said that the rest policies made it impossible for them to train properly for Super Rugby, so their form dropped and they lost their spots on the national team.
The rest policy rules have been in place since 2010 and say that top players will play 40, 60, and then 80 minutes over the first three Super Rugby rounds, but these can be managed differently, so 60, 60, and 60 would be possible. They also get a fortnight away from the team or to focus on how they are in terms of physical conditioning.
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