World Rugby’s scheduling is the only thing which is preventing New Zealand from playing against the Pacific island nations on a regular basis.
That was the word from All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen after his team’s 92-7 victory over Tonga in Hamilton on Saturday.
The All Blacks have only faced Tonga six times despite having played a total of 585 total matches in their history.
Added to that, the world champions have only played fellow Pacific Island countries Fiji and Samoa five and seven times respectively in Test rugby’s history.
When asked about the future prospects of regular games against those nations, Hansen explain that World Rugby’s current scheduling hampers any plans, placing more emphasis on money ahead of competition.
“It would be [beneficial],” Hansen told TVNZ.
“The problem we’ve got is the calendar doesn’t allow you to do that. We have these wonderful ideas about growing the game, but we don’t have an organisation at the top that wants to say ‘this is what we’re doing.’
“The Six Nations are world Test rugby programmes, they don’t want to give that up. Until they’re prepared to give that up, we’re not going to see any progress in that area.”