Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read says the New Zealand teams will bully their Australian and Pacific opponents in the new Super Rugby Pacific next year, but need Australia to improve if the tournament is to be a success.
Sanzaar on Monday confirmed that the new format of the competition, Super Rugby Pacific, will include the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika, who will join New Zealand’s five clubs and Australia’s five clubs in a 12-team tournament.
The tournament will kick off on 18 February 2022 with an eight-team playoff series culminating in a final on 18 June.
Read, who enjoyed a highly successful career at the Crusaders, appeared on Sky Sports‘ ‘The Breakdown’ and expressed his concerns about the competitiveness of the new Super Rugby format.
The New Zealand Super Rugby teams – the Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes, Chiefs and Blues – won 23 out of 25 games against Australian sides in Super Rugby Trans Tasman this year.
“I think if you look across the board at the competition next year, you’re going to probably look at a 90%, 80% win rate for New Zealand teams,” Read said.
“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.”
Read also spoke about All Blacks’ performances this year, saying they were far better than last year’s displays.
After a shaky 2020, the All Blacks started their 2021 Test season with wins over Tonga and Fiji, and then beat the Wallabies back to back to claim the Bledisloe Cup.
“I think this All Blacks team has been chalk and cheese to last year, and you can kind of see how motivated they are in wanting to do well,” Read said.
“It’s shown in their performances and I can’t wait for them to get into the South Africans.
“That’s going to be an exciting couple of games.”
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