All Blacks captain Kieran Read rubbishes Super Rugby conference system

Sunday Sport 01/07/2018
Kieran Read. Photo credit: Photosport.

A Pacific team in Super Rugby is an exciting prospect for Kieran Read, but not before the competition gets a major facelift.

Following another successful New Zealand derby in Suva, calls for an expansion side based out of Fiji, Samoa or Tonga are getting louder.

The All Blacks captain agrees with that sentiment, but believes the completion as it stands is unsustainable and expansion is out of the question until the conference system is scrapped.

"It would be awesome to have them in a competition," Read told RadioLIVE.

"The bigger issue is the state of the competition itself. It needs to be put into a better place.

"I like the idea of a full round robin where you play everyone once, but we can't continue with this conference system moving forward. 

"They have to work something out there before expansion. A round robin or something along those lines would be fairer for everyone and result in a better product for the fans who turn up every week."

Read, who has just recovered from off-season back surgery, is due to make his season debut for the Crusaders in the next fortnight.

The 2017 champions are sitting pretty atop both the New Zealand conference and the overall ladder, nine points clear of the Hurricanes.

Despite only needing a point from their last two games to all-but guarantee home advantage for the playoffs, Read said compliancy can catch the best of teams out, so it's important they look only towards the Blues and the Highlanders.

"We are in a great position on the table," Read told Sunday Sport.

"But if you slip mentality there are good teams in this competition that can take advantage. It's important for us to play well these next two games at home and ensure we are at home for the remainder of the comp.

"We can't rest on our laurels and expect the results to come - [it's] really important we keep working hard."

Read has also taken interest in Germany's demise from the Football World Cup.

While acknowledging the two sports are very different, Read believes the Germans' failure is a timely wake-up call for his All Black side that nothing in sport should be taken for granted.

The 2014 champions were hot favourites to go back-to-back in Russia, but failed to live up to those hefty expectations.

Those same expectations will be on Steve Hansen's side in Japan next year

"It raises alarm bells," Read told RadioLIVE.

"You look at the stat that four of the last five World Cup winners have blown out in the group stages, it leads you to wonder if the guys are as hungry to win turning up four years later.

"We will certainly acknowledge that and learn from that. The pressure is there to win the World Cup for the All Blacks when we turn up, and there is part of that psyche that tells you it's okay if we don't win because we have won the last two.

"It's important for us as a group to push that aside and do what we need to do."

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