All Blacks unlikely to take an apprentice on end of year rugby tour
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says the All Blacks are unlikely to be taking an apprentice on their end-of-year tour.
The apprentice slot has been a winner for the All Blacks in the past, with Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea getting a good grounding on the team's methods and culture on northern hemisphere tours in recent years.
The All Blacks will play tests against France, Scotland and Wales among the five matches on their tour in November.
"Probably not this time," Hansen replied when asked about adopting an apprentice this year.
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"Thirty-seven [team slots] should allow us to have enough people there getting educated. There probably won't be a need for an apprentice this time."
The apprentice slot appealed as a chance to blood exciting Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, but now his chances will rest on making the full squad.
The 20-year-old was the star of this year's New Zealand under-20 team, scoring three tries in their world championship win over England and has continued his dynamic form for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Hansen said players for most of the 37 tour positions had been pencilled in, though a few may change because of injury. They will have to replace Nehe Milner-Skudder after he suffered a dislocated shoulder against South Africa on Sunday (NZT). He requires an operation and is out of rugby for six months.
"The last spots are always difficult ... you are juggling ... and they are always open to change if we get a mind-boggling inspirational thought late in the piece."
The All Blacks play the Wallabies in a Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane on October 21, before heading to Europe for their first match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 5.
They play France on November 12, a France XV on the 15th, Scotland on the 19th and Wales on the 26th.