Ben Smith has expressed his desire to see the return of a competition that features teams from South Africa and New Zealand.
‘As a player we always enjoyed those battles against South African Super sides,’ the 84-Test All Blacks fullback told Stuff.
‘Having New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina in the competition, it also brought a different perspective on how they played rugby.
‘It was a big part of development for all of those countries, and I hope that at some point down the track we can get back to that.’
The 2020 Super Rugby season was curtailed by a global coronavirus lockdown and, after New Zealand Rugby opted to recommence the competition without the travel-restricted teams from the Republic, SA Rugby engaged and successfully negotiated a deal to join an expanded PRO14.
This brought an abrupt end to what was at one time rugby’s premier regional competition in the world, a fixture of the rugby calendar that had produced numerous elite players, and most of the world champions between 1996 and 2019.
Smith was one such player, making 153 appearances for the Highlanders between 2009 and 2019 before retiring from Test rugby and joining the Kobe Steelers in Japan’s Top League earlier this year. Smith’s counterpart at Toyota Verblitz is Willie le Roux, and the Springbok fullback concurs with Smith’s sentiments about the value of Super Rugby.
‘I couldn’t agree more,’ said Le Roux. ‘Now every week the guys are having to play against each other.
‘It’s trials every week. I think they’d much rather play against the Aussies and the All Blacks.’
‘I’ve been watching New Zealand Super Rugby as well. It’s hard on the guys to be playing each other each week.’
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