All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has revealed he and his management team have taken another pay cut as New Zealand Rugby continue to suffer the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Foster, who took a pay cut in March, told Martin Devlin on Newstalk ZB that he and his fellow All Blacks staffers had taken another hit as the wait for the All Blacks to return to the field continues.
"We took an initial pay cut when it first hit the fan and I've taken another additional pay cut on top of that too since then – everyone in my management team has done that. We're hurting like everyone else," Foster said.
The All Blacks aren't likely to take the field until at least October, with tentative plans to take on the Wallabies in a four-match Bledisloe Cup series, and although Super Rugby Aotearoa has boosted NZR's coffers, the organisation is still having to farewell 25 per cent of its workforce.
That has left plenty of revenue-gathering options on the table, including a cross-code clash against the Kangaroos, with Foster pointing out that it will be tricky to play opposition such as the Springboks until domestic rugby is able to be played in South Africa and players are able to build up fitness.
As a result, one potential option could be taking on Pacific Island nations; something Foster confirmed as a possibility, albeit one which still has hurdles to overcome.
"We've been talking particularly to Fiji. One of their problems is that a lot of their top players are still tied up in European clubs, and because the European club window is still undecided at the moment, they won't get released to play internationals until the clubs are really clear about what their windows are. It's a matter of being fair to the Pacific Islanders and allowing them to find out what they can get their players – but we certainly are very keen to line up and play them."
Another unique clash on the fixture list is the North v South trial, which will see players be eligible for either the North or South Island side depending on which province they made their first-class debut for.
The ruling proved controversial, with the likes of Northland's Jack Goodhue and Taranaki's Scott and Jordie Barrett instead playing for the South Island, having made their provincial debuts for Canterbury, while Christchurch's Anton Lienert-Brown and Invercargill's Damian McKenzie will play for the North Island as they both first played for Waikato.
However, Foster explained the reasons for using the provincial side criteria, as opposed to where the player went to high school.
"One of the issues with high schools is you've got a real pattern in the last 10 years of people staying in one smaller school, particularly in country schools, and then somehow – through scholarships or whatever it is – suddenly gravitating to bigger schools. It confuses it and it also really slanted it to a very heavy North Island-centric team.
"The rugby landscape is so different from what it was in the past so that's why we've decided to say the first province is where that first step into the professional era is – it rewards that and is probably closer to what is used to be years and years ago."