Rugby: Ian Foster clarifies All Blacks' Super Rugby Pacific rest orders, assures fans will see best players for 'vast majority' of competition

Ian Foster has moved to clarify the All Blacks' rest orders for the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific season, assuring fans will get to see New Zealand's best players in action.

As initially detailed separately by Blues coach Leon MacDonald, and Hurricanes coach Jason Holland, it was outlined that All Blacks could play no more than five consecutive matches during the new season.

Regardless of time spent on the field, one game played in would count towards a player's tally of games played, including in playoff matches.

Seen in previous years of Super Rugby, the All Blacks' enforced rest is hoped to keep players fresh for test rugby later in the year.

Key All Blacks will still be required to take breaks during the Super Rugby season.
Key All Blacks will still be required to take breaks during the Super Rugby season. Photo credit: Getty Images

With 2023 being a Rugby World Cup year, workload management will be key for Foster and selectors, wanting players in the best possible condition physically and mentally before a tilt at a record fourth Webb Ellis Cup.

But Foster insists the workload management of players in Super Rugby has not been implemented because of the World Cup, also seen in non-World Cup years.

The new Super Rugby Pacific season only having one bye week for each team added to headaches for coaches, forced to weigh up when they could and couldn't play their star players.

As a result, rest orders will only apply for senior All Blacks, rather than those on the fringes looking to press their case for regular honours.

Speaking to the All Blacks' official website, Foster moved to assure players' availability for their club sides, with Super Rugby being an important platform to push for spots in the squad to head to France later this year.

"The overwhelming theme is to have them available for the vast majority of Super Rugby Pacific because that competition is vital for us," Foster told

"But also that we make sure that we do what we can to have a responsible management plan.

"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 also outlined he wants to see certain players in certain positions get as much of an opportunity to cement their case for a test spot, with only seven months to go until the World Cup.

"Some positions get managed more easily than others; others are harder to cover off the reserves bench," he continued. 

"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?'"

Super Rugby Pacific begins on February 24, when the Crusaders host the Chiefs in Christchurch.