The All Blacks’ workloads will again be managed during the new Super Rugby season, following on from last year’s protocols.
The start of the 2019 season saw key All Blacks’ rested and rotated from the first three rounds of Super Rugby, as New Zealand Rugby aimed to keep players fresh leading into the Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
However, despite no global tournament this year, players will again be subject to protocols to avoid burnout later in the season, with no Test window in June to break up the Super Rugby season.
Once again, All Blacks will be forced to sit out at least two regular season matches, not including their sides’ bye weeks.
All Blacks must also play no more than six consecutive games, although a bye week does reset that count (as seen with Rieko Ioane in 2019).
Finally, no All Black will play more than a combined total of 180 minutes from the first three rounds of the season, meaning either rest or substitution from the 240 available minutes.
Speaking to Stuff, New Zealand Rugby’s head of high performance Mike Anthony spoke about the benefits of keeping players fresh throughout the course of the season.
“What we’re trying to create is not just about an outcome for the All Blacks for later on, it’s actually a win for the Super Rugby clubs, that they have those guys performing at the back end,” Anthony said.
“There’s no player that can go through this thing and maintain form without breaks throughout. It’s just such a physical contest now, and high intensity running.”
Super Rugby begins this Friday, with the Blues hosting the Chiefs at Eden Park.