Is there too much rugby being played?
OPINION: It used to be a novelty to watch a top level game of rugby, but seeing the empty seats at many Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup games this season makes you wonder if there are too many games on.
The All Blacks play only three more matches this year than in 1977 but a lot more tests.
The top level season now runs for 10 months rather than seven months, while the introduction of Super Rugby sees top level players involved in 15 more regular season games and travelling more than they used to.
1977 - All Blacks six tests, seven tour games and 55 NPC first division games
The All Blacks played only six tests in 1977, but seven further games on their end-of-year tour to Italy and France, while back then there were also North v South Zone games and All Blacks trials.
The All Blacks played four home test matches against the touring British and Irish Lions.
The NPC was in its second season, with 11 teams playing 10 games each in division one, with a total of 55 games.
The Lions tour began in May, while the All Blacks played their last tour game on November 19, in the second test against France.
1987 - All Blacks seven tests, five tour games and 55 NPC first division games.
The highlight of the 1987 season was the inaugural Rugby World Cup victory, which saw the All Blacks win all six test matches.
They also played a test against Australia and five matches in Japan, including two against Japan.
Two All Blacks trials, along with three zone matches with players from the North, South and Central regions were also played.
The NPC competition featured 55 games, with 11 teams in the first division playing 10 regular season games each.
1997 - All Blacks 12 tests and five tour games, 69 Super Rugby games and 39 NPC first division games.
In 1997, top level rugby started in February, while the end-of-yeartour didn’t finish till December.
The All Blacks played tests against Fiji, Argentina and Australia, along with the Tri Nations tests against Australia and South Africa.
The end-of-year-tour of Ireland, Wales and England featured four tests and five tour games.
Super Rugby teams played 11 round robin games followed by finals.
The nine-team NPC involved 36 games playing eight games each, followed by playoffs.
2007 - All Blacks 12 tests, 94 Super Rugby games and 77 NPC first division games
The All Blacks played only five tests at the World Cup after their early exit. They also played three domestic test matches, along with four Tri Nations games.
Super 14 Rugby saw each team play 13 regular season games followed by the finals, with 94 matches in total.
There were also 77 matches in NPC rugby featuring 14 teams, with 10 regular season games per team.
2017 - All Blacks 14 tests, two tour games, 142 Super Rugby games and 76 NPC rugby games
The All Blacks played three tests against the Lions, along with six Rugby Championship tests, a test against Samoa and will finish their season with a third Bledisloe Cup match and three end-of-tour tests as part of a five-match tour.
The Super Rugby season included 142 games, with each team playing 15 regular season games.
The NPC includes 76 matches including 10 regular season fixtures plus play-off games.
Super Rugby kicked off in February and finished in August, while the All Blacks will play their last game of the season on November 26.