NZ rugby would be better if South Africa teams were in Super Rugby

The Crusaders coach Scott Robertson believes New Zealand's Super Rugby teams would be stronger if they had regular games against South African sides.

Covid meant New Zealand, Australia and South Africa played their own competitions in 2020.

In 2021 New Zealand and Australia played in house tournaments followed by a cross-over series, while South African teams decided to head to the Northern Hemisphere and play in the United Rugby Championship.

Robertson said the New Zealand teams, and by extension the All Blacks, are worse off without South Africa in Super Rugby.

He believes the South African teams are missed.

"I think more and more now."

"In the first year we thought we wouldn't miss them because we had (Super Rugby) Aotearoa and that was tough enough as it was, while in the second year we had two competitions," Robertson said.

"You then looked over your shoulder and watched them play or when you watched those test matches and realised that their mentality to the game, their style, their strengths, (is) what makes our game great.

"It's just different, a different flow or a different game and when we play them I think we're better for it and so we do miss them."

Crusaders and All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor agrees. He said playing South African teams provides a unique challenge.

"It's a different game when you're playing the South Africans, they're big boys, massive forward packs and great set pieces and backs that can burn you.

"Definitely miss playing them, I can understand where they've gone but who knows where the game is going to go and we've just got to get on with it," said Taylor.

The third placed Crusaders welcome back captain Scott Barrett and Taylor for Friday night's game against the Brumbies.