The boss of New Zealand rugby says he’s wary of seeing too large a gulf in quality develop across the Tasman.
A second Bledisloe Cup thrashing, six Test defeats on the trot and a poor Super Rugby club campaign have made for a miserable 2016 rugby season in Australia.
The Wallabies barely had a chance in the second Bledisloe Test in Wellington on Saturday, failing to score a try and running the ball 187m to New Zealand’s 411m.
Meanwhile, the rampant hosts and world champions crossed the line four times en route to a 14th consecutive Bledisloe Cup crown.
NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew enjoyed the All Blacks’ victory over their rivals as much as any other Kiwi but said he didn’t want to have it too easy.
It was in New Zealand rugby’s interests to have a competitive international landscape and unions in good health, he said.
“We want Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Japan, who are currently very important partners of ours, to be in good financial shape and performing on the paddock,” Tew told reporters on Monday.
“We like to beat Australia but you don’t want it to get too far away.”
Tew made no apology for the All Blacks’ strength across the field but said the union was always open to assisting its sister bodies overseas.
He said the NZ Rugby and ARU boardrooms were on good terms despite the turmoil surrounding the All Blacks hotel bugging scandal in Sydney.
“No-one wants an inevitable outcome in sport, because that’s the beauty of the game,” Tew said.
“We can only do what we can.”
Tew also clarified NZ Rugby’s decision to withhold the bugging for five days from Australian police and claimed the hotel had been investigating.
He acknowledged in hindsight the situation could have been handled better.
However, he said the bugging was proof NZ Rugby were justified in conducting security sweeps and being on high alert.
“Probably the delay in giving it to the police is something we’ll reflect on and say we could’ve done better,” Tew said.
“There’s nothing sinister about it, we simply relied on the hotel to get on and find out what was going on.”
The matter was now in the hands of Australian police.
Tew also said the review of New Zealand’s disappointing rugby sevens Olympic Games campaign, which garnered just one silver medal, would be released in October.
The All Blacks have not lost since August 2015 and are undefeated at home for almost seven years.