New Zealand's Super Rugby Pacific franchises have an extra training partner this year.

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They can train alongside teams during their training sessions. The move is a win-win situation for both groups.

 

Not only can they work on their fitness alongside teams, but they can also offer rugby law advice on any queries raised by the sides.

 

Blues coach Leon MacDonald said he thought it was a great initiative.

 

The Blues have Brendon Pickerill running with them. There is one catch - he won't referee any Blues games this year.

 

MacDonald said, "Those referees have it difficult. They train by themselves, all their running, their fitness, their reviews, are all done at home by themselves. He'll get into the middle of our training, and he can look at pictures and review them like we do as players and coaches.

 

"He's got the same opportunity to prepare every week as a player does which is going to make him better. It's a great initiative, and a positive move," he said.

 

Around the rest of the country, Mike Fraser will be based with the Chiefs, Ben O'Keeffe with the Hurricanes, Paul Williams links up with the Crusaders and James Doleman will join the Highlanders. In every case, no referee will officiate their respective teams.