BREAKING NEWS
Falling tree kills man as storm batters Northland ... Read more
Close

Tough calls to make for Steve Hansen

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012
Steve Hansen
Getty
OPEN AND HONEST: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Guitar helping New Zealand under-20s form strong bond for world championships Money not everything as All Blacks Julian Savea and Brodie Retallick stay put The heir apparent to Richie McCaw: Chiefs flanker Sam Cane makes case for selection All Blacks could help Kiwis play Samoa test 'Frustrated' lock Dominic Bird still chasing World Cup dream with All Blacks All Blacks selector Grant Fox backs Dan Carter and Richie McCaw as RWC looms Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick sign with NZ Rugby until 2019 Concussion set to sideline Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read for Hurricanes encounter All Blacks Julian Savea and Brodie Retallick set to re-sign with NZ Rugby for another four years Dan Carter ponders career for American audience

Steve Hansen must decide this week whether to reward his incumbents again, or box smart and throw fresh legs at the finish line.

The All Blacks are not exactly staggering home, but injury concerns, Andrew Hore's overnight citing, and the ferocity of the win over Wales will be factored in when the team to play England is named on Thursday night.

On arrival in London last night, Hansen's men were whisked away to a swimming pool and will have a light week on the training paddock as their bodies are monitored.

"We'll just have to see," Hansen said when quizzed on the possibility of selection changes based on fatigue. "It's been a long year. You only have to look at all the other teams in the southern hemisphere to see they are struggling with that fatigue, and yesterday [Sunday] we got a wee sign of it as well [against Wales].

"Our last 20 minutes we started to struggle. The toll of the year has probably kicked in a little bit . . . we just have to be really smart how we train this week."

One change seems certain with Hore facing a yet-to-be-announced date with the IRB judiciary for his reckless swinging arm at Millennium Stadium.

But blindside Victor Vito, halfback Piri Weepu, wing Hosea Gear and lock Brodie Retallick could all potentially add some zip around the core of tiring senior incumbents.

Hansen would not be drawn on which individuals were feeling the pinch, saying "95 per cent" of the team were sore.

But he did confirm there was a danger of cumulative fatigue for those who had been used regularly through the elongated Rugby Championship.

"I think it's just general fatigue.

"If you play enough rugby and you travel around as much as we have, it takes it out of you," Hansen said.

Weepu said there would be no let-up for the 14th and final test of the All Blacks' season thanks to the opposition.

"Definitely," he said when asked if England were the European side New Zealand players most wanted to beat. "It's like the New Zealand-Aussie rivalry."

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content