All Blacks will be available for majority of Super Rugby - Foster

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Foster said the All Blacks had continued evolving their approach to load management in liaison with the Super Rugby clubs for many years.

"It's an individualised approach where we look at our players separately," he said.

Under previous protocols, two byes and two games away from the team environments were applied. Strategies were always worked out with the Super sides.

"It's been complicated by Super Rugby only having one bye this year, which effectively means you take out a natural break for players.”

Foster said what had been agreed with the Super Rugby clubs for 2023 was that some of the more senior players would not play more than five games in a row.

Exceptions would be made for All Blacks who had lower playing minutes last year, younger players, or those returning from long-term injuries. This had been discussed with the clubs, and there would be some six-game exceptions.

"The overwhelming theme is to have them available for the vast majority of Super Rugby Pacific because that competition is vital for us, but also that we make sure that we do what we can to have a responsible management plan."

The Super Rugby clubs had developed their plans for 2023 to ensure all players were available for the playoff games, he said.

"We want them to get the mix right between playing really, really well for their club and really, really well for their country. We think it is a sensible approach that shows a lot of trust in the clubs to come up with a plan around a certain criteria."

Foster said there was enough experience through the years to show that if players continue to play increasingly more physical games, then fatigue could lead to injuries or potentially a loss of form.

"There's a certain degree of common sense about that and a lot of experience over time. And it's getting the balance with the individual side of it," he said.

Some positions had natural times for substitutions, such as front rowers, hookers and halfbacks.

"Some positions get managed more easily than others; others are harder to cover off the reserves bench. So, a lot of players will be playing 80 minutes regularly. It's looking at those players individually, and positionally, and saying 'OK, what is the best strategy for them?'"


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