New All Blacks coach Ian Foster says everything must be done to ensure the Springboks remain involved in southern-hemisphere competitions.
Reacting to a report over the weekend that suggested the Boks could be set to ditch the Rugby Championship and join an expanded Six Nations, Foster reiterated the importance of maintaining the game’s longstanding rivalry between New Zealand and South Africa.
‘If you take the politics out of it, I can’t imagine an All Black year not playing the South Africans. If you just think about it, historically they are our greatest foe.
‘We need them in our competition, they are a fantastic group of people, fantastic country, and we need them to play here. We know they are committed to do that for the next cycle, we’ve just got to make sure we’ve got a working relationship with them and deal with things.’
His comments tied in with New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson, who highlighted that SA Rugby is committed to a deal with broadcasters to remain involved in Sanzaar competitions through to 2025.
Foster, who succeeded Steve Hansen as All Blacks head coach after the World Cup, said he couldn’t imagine not playing the Boks regularly, but also rubbished the original report that appeared in the Daily Mail.
‘My initial reaction was, thank goodness it was written in an English newspaper because I don’t believe most of that stuff.
‘There’s been a little bit of smoke around this for a while – the reality is our board has to make sure it has a strong relationship with South Africa and is talking, which I know they have been.’
*Have you signed up to our newsletter? Click here to join the thousands of readers who are part of our newsletter community.
Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images