NZRU Deputy CEO Steve Tew said the concept of wider training groups had been discussed with all Super 12 and All Blacks Coaches, Super 12 franchise and other First Division Provincial Union CEOs as well as the Players� Association and had been supported by the majority.
The wider training groups, consisting of seven players in each franchise, will replace the Super 12 Development Competition in 2005.
The Super 12 Coaches will each identify their seven players following the selection of the 28-strong Rebel Sport Super 12 squads.
The training squad members, who will have to come from provinces within each franchise, will then be contacted by the NZRU and offered contracts.
�These players will form the group of potential replacement players in the event of injuries to Super 12 squad players,� Tew said.
Tew added while there had been many positives with the Super 12 Development Competition, coaches had found that it had not sufficiently prepared players for the rigours of Super 12 rugby.
�The wider training groups will better prepare and develop potential Super 12 replacement players to a Super 12 standard, both in terms of fitness and team training.�