Rugby

Hansen defends size of All Black squad

2018-11-02 10:43
Steve Hansen (Getty)

Cape Town - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has defended the selection of big squads and said claims that the All Blacks jersey was being cheapened were nonsense.

Fifty-one players had been in Japan at one stage before a group of 23 flew out to England during the week to prepare for the November 10 Test at Twickenham. That left the remainder of the group to prepare for Saturday's Test against Japan in Tokyo.

Such use of players was necessary because of the demands of the modern game.

When critics claimed they didn't give Test caps away so easily in the past Hansen's response was that they only played four or five Test matches a year and six or seven provincial games in the past.

Today they were playing 14-15 Test matches alone, without considering their Super Rugby commitments, and you couldn't ask the same people to do it all the time while playing to the level expected of them.

"Over the last few years we've looked at different ways of trying to skin the cat," Hansen told the All Blacks' official website.

"Last year we split the squad to Argentina and South Africa. This year the opportunity to play the Bledisloe up here [Japan] was too good to turn down because of the opportunity to experiment and get a feel for Japan and the idea of having two weeks here was better than one, hence we asked to play Japan."

Once it was decided to do that it was then a case of how that affected playing England, Ireland and Italy. By taking extra players they were winning all round. They were getting to see more players, how they coped and as a young side they would be under pressure on Saturday.

How they performed would contribute to making sound judgments next year ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Teams:

Japan

15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Jamie Henry, 13 William Tupou, 12 Timothy Lafaele, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Hendrik Tui, 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 Samuela Anise, 4 Wimpie van der Walt, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Keita Inagaki

Substitutes: 16 Yusuki Niwai, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Asaeli Valu, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Vaka Nakajima, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda 23 Ryoto Nakamura

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 Dalton Papali'i, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi

Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Dillon Hunt, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Mitch Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 George Bridge

Read more on:    all blacks  |  steve hansen  |  rugby

 

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