As pessimism rises about the merits of the approaching Super whiz bang rugby series All Black coach Steve Hansen has urged caution about making any premature judgments.
The uneven draw, extensive travel schedule and lopsided talent in the conferences has drawn widespread doubt about the virtues of the expanded 18 team series.
“They have made some pretty brave decisions in how it will be run and how they want it to work,” Hansen said.
“So rather than bag it or applaud it we need to sit back and see if it works.”
He acknowledged the arduous travel schedule with the introduction of teams from Argentina and Japan and an extra side in South Africa. Everyone should just wait and see how it panned out.
Listen: Steve Hansen on the DRS
Test players had a decent break after the World Cup and squads had been involved in a long buildup towards the new series. Hansen thought All Blacks would be prominent early and hoped injuries would be kept to a minimum.
He and his selectors would expect what they always did-quality rugby with some experienced players showing out alongside a range of new faces.
There was no World Cup carrot this season but it was not difficult for the All Black coaching staff to adjust.
“The first thing we have to look at is what’s right for our athletes,” Hansen said.
“Last year our All Blacks were coming off the first time they got 12 weeks pre-season and through the high performance and the franchises working together they looked after the All Blacks.”
Hansen felt that should be the template each season whether it was a World Cup year or not.
Coaches who managed their squads best would get dividends at the end of the Super rugby series then it was up to the All Black staff to uncork their plans and strategies.
Written by – NZ Herald