Matt Todd to get his big chance from bench

12:13, Jun 20 2013
All Blacks training
Captain Kieran Read goes high over Ofa Tu'ungafasi, who was brought in for training help.
All Blacks training
New caps Steven Luatua and Francis Saili join Ma'a Nonu on a warm-up run.
All Blacks training
Sam Cane and Matt Todd run through a drill.
All Blacks training
Some of the backs keep warm with a run.
All Blacks training
Ben Afeaki and Tony Woodcock get some passing in.
All Blacks training
Victor Vito and Steven Luatua run through a drill.
All Blacks training
Steven Luatua and Brodie Retallick get ready for an innovative workout in the rain.
All Blacks training
Beauden Barrett warms up with fellow first five Aaron Cruden.
All Blacks training
The injured Dan Carter looks on during a wet All Blacks training.
All Blacks training
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen keeps covered up as the All Blacks train in a windy and wet Auckland.
All Blacks test preparations
Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden, Julian Savea and Francis Sail react to a kick during a light-hearted moment at the end of All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Matt Todd is tackled by Ben Franks at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Piri Weepu at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Piri Weepu shares a joke with All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster at training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Francis Saili practises his kicking at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Dan Carter enjoys himself at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Kieran Read surveys the scene at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
The All Blacks get in some scrum practice at training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
All Blacks test preparations
Israel Dagg at All Blacks training at Linfield Park in Christchurch.
Kieran Read
All Blacks captain Kieran Read plays with daughter Elle during the captain's run at AMI Stadium.
Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick
Sam Whitelock (left) and the man he replaced, Brodie Retallick.
Brodie Retallick
Brodie Retallick gets worked on by the All Blacks physio during a training session on Thursday.
Ma'a Nonu
Ma'a Nonu shares a joke with a team-mate during the captain's run.
Matt Todd and Wyatt Crockett
Matt Todd (left) and Wyatt Crockett play with Crockett's kids at AMI Stadium.
Kieran Read Crockett
Kieran Read with his two daughters Eden (left) and Elle during the All Blacks' final training.
Sam Whitelock
Sam Whitelock participates in the All Blacks captain's run, as (from left) Brodie Retallick, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock and Owen Franks watch.
All Blacks prepare for France
The All Blacks front row gets in some scrum practice in New Plymouth ahead of the last test with France.
All Blacks prepare for France
Halfback Aaron Smith gets in some passing practice in New Plymouth.
All Blacks prepare for France
Blues backrow Steven Luatua looks set to make his All Blacks debut against France this weekend after being named on the bench.
All Blacks prepare for France
Dan Carter training at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth ahead of the All Blacks' last test with France.

Expect Matt Todd to see plenty of action in the second half of Saturday's third test against France.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was straight to the point today when assessing the approximate time he would send out some of the reserves - provided the game was going to plan.

With Sam Cane having two 80-minute performances in the first two tests, the Crusaders No 7 will make his test debut in New Plymouth.

"It may well seem strange, but we've looked at Sam," Hansen said. "He's had a big workload against a really physical pack and he'll have a big workload after that.

"By bringing Matt on to the bench, it gives us an opportunity to give him a breather later in the game.

"And it's good for Matt. We'll find out a bit more about him at this level."

Finding out about this level is something Todd has been eagerly anticipating since being brought in as injury cover for lock Sam Whitelock when the first All Blacks squad for 2013 was named.

Whitelock had an injured finger but turned out a week earlier than expected, and Hansen saw no sense in sending Todd back down south without giving him a small taste of test rugby.

"It's a real buzz and I was stoked when I heard my name read out; it was a surprise," Todd said today.

His inclusion will stop the drums beating in Canterbury for his inclusion, for a short time at least.

"I'm sure there will be some happy people down there. As I've said, I'm stoked to be in the 23 and hopefully I can get on the paddock," Todd said.

The 25-year-old had been gathering as much information as he could get from Cane since the All Blacks first fronted France in Auckland, particularly on the tourists' style of attacking the breakdown.

"From watching them, and talking to our guys, they're obviously big boys who really put an emphasis on getting in there," Todd said.

"That's obviously a real focus of theirs and they have been effective in that area.

"They do put a massive emphasis on it, and the team in general has spoken about just how different it is from playing a New Zealand-type team. It's going to be a challenge."

Urgency in getting to the breakdown was two-thirds of winning the the battle, Todd said.

He said Hansen had not asked him to make any radical changes to his style of play; just on how important it was to stay strong over the ball, one of Todd's strengths.

"First and foremost I have to get my head around the game plan, because not being involved in the first two tests I have a lot to catch up on," he said. 

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Matt Todd
HAPPY MAN: Matt Todd looks set to see plenty of action off the bench when he makes his test debut against France.

Fairfax Media