The first week of the official All Black season wraps up tomorrow and the emphasis is on getting everyone ready for what will be a monumental challenge ahead. That was the message coach Steve Hansen was keen to give out at a press conference in Auckland today, as well as mapping out just what the team will undertake in the next few weeks.
“It certainly gives us an opportunity to play people that maybe wouldn’t play if the Crusaders would be available,” he said in reference to the first test of the year in Argentina. It’s expected that none of the players from the Crusaders are gong to make that trip.
That opens up the door for a debut for new squad member Josh Ioane, who will likely deputise for first-five Beauden Barrett in place of Richie Mo’unga.
“Each and every one of the people here are excited, even the old guys…I want them to be comfortable in the environment without being too comfortable.”
The All Black squad will return home for the weekend, before reassembling next week for the trip to Buenos Aires.