All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says professional rugby players should get a 16-week break.
Hansen was speaking ahead of his side’s match against Japan in Tokyo on Saturday. The All Blacks, who beat the Wallabies in the third Bledisloe Cup match last Saturday, will also face England, Ireland and Italy on their end-of-year tour, for which Hansen has selected a total of 51 players.
New Zealand will play a total of 14 Tests in 2018.
‘They don’t get enough of a break,’ Hansen said of his players. ‘You can’t keep going round and round and round and round and round without running out of petrol – at some stage, you’ve got to recharge the tank.
‘I don’t know how you’d structure it, but the one thing I’d really want is that everyone gets 16 weeks’ break between their last game and their next one.’
Hansen said England’s current injury crisis could be traced back as far as the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand 16 months ago.
‘The England boys I think have suffered a bit from the Lions tour and it’s not only one season, it kicks on.
‘It’s a worldwide problem and probably the team that’s managing it best at the moment is Ireland. They’re pretty dictatorial about what they do. They go “you can’t play” because they own the players and the franchises completely. They’ve got a good model.’