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NZR wants change in the game

New Zealand Rugby is keen to see the views already espoused by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen on the defensive aspects of the game pursued in the upper levels of the sport.

As part of the post-World Cup review of the laws New Zealand Rugby has been seeking the views of rugby people in order to prepare a case to be taken to World Rugby's committee on the laws review.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie is part of that committee and while it was agreed the game was delivering what its charter determined, including having the game available for all shapes and sizes, and having a contest for the ball, there were concerns about aspects of the game.

NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew said on Monday: "There has been a great focus [in discussions] on the over-emphasis of defence and we have been looking at ways of getting more time and space with the ball.

"How do we give the ball better chance of being used in attacking and not defence?" he said.

The contest for the ball was essential to rugby and while the breakdown was part of that, there was a lack of clarity around the breakdown for both fans and players, he said.

Tew, who was updating media on the NZR board meeting held on Friday, said initial Provincial Union financial forecasts were similar to last year and that a number of unions were working hard to achieve a breakeven or better result for the full year.

There had been a pleasing decrease in the amount of money spent on players and it had been revealed there had been no salary cap breaches.

The loss sustained in the most recent staging of the Wellington Sevens had been 'a little more substantial' than what had been hoped and would impact on the 2015 result for NZR. That result is expected to be announced next week.

But Tew expected there would be an announcement in coming months about some new partnerships for New Zealand Rugby that would benefit the game in the longer term.

Twelve centres have applied to host matches during the 2016-2017 season, including the British and Irish Lions tour and a mid-year announcement on venues could be expected, he said.

Tew congratulated the New Zealand cricket team for their outstanding World Cup tournament and they had achieved much they could be proud of. He also congratulated the organising team for the staging of the tournament which had shown just how capable New Zealand was in delivering major sports events.