Rugby Championship

All Blacks to split squads for Argentina, Bok Tests?

2017-09-18 09:01
Steve Hansen (Getty)

Cape Town - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has hinted at unleashing dual squads for the final two Rugby Championship Tests on the road, and has promised to reveal all on Monday once he has informed his players of the master plan, according to the Stuff website.

On the back of their record-breaking 57-0 victory over the Springbok's at Albany's QBE Stadium on Saturday, Hansen's All Blacks all but have another Rugby Championship title sewn up.

They are eight points clear of the Boks and would need to lose both matches to open the door for the second-placed South Africans to catch them.

Hansen has talked about the need to manage workloads and maintain freshness in as many of his players as possible, with still the Brisbane Bledisloe Cup clash and then a five-match November tour north to follow.

That raises the prospect of him sparing some players the trip to Argentina and sending them direct to South Africa, with some extra home time as an added bonus - and some other squad members coming back to New Zealand directly after the Pumas assignment.

Hansen wasn't giving anything away at his regular Sunday post-Test debrief in Auckland, but did not shut down the prospect of a dual squad approach either.

"We're going to take 28 to both venues, and we'll let you know more about that tomorrow (Monday)," he said when asked how he will approach the final two Rugby Championship fixtures.

When asked to clarify, the All Blacks coach responded: "I'm going to put out a release tomorrow. I haven't spoken to the players about it yet. They know 28 will be going to both venues but they don't know who. There's no point me telling you guys first. Just be patient and you'll get all the details."

Hansen also spoke of the demands of the next couple of months or so.

"You've got nine weeks, seven Test matches (six actually, plus the Baabaas), and 11 time zone changes. How we manage that is going to be important."

The All Blacks face Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday, September 30 before finishing their tournament against the Springboks at Newlands a week later.


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