Few changes likely for all-conquering AllBlacks

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James Mortimer     11 Jun 2012     Getty Images

The three-test series against Ireland shifts to the backyard of the likes of captain Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Kieran Read – where a sold-out AMI Stadium will look to see the All Blacks continue where the Crusaders left off, undefeated at their new ground this season.

While Hansen has indicated that the integration of new blood has been a priority for the All Blacks, looking ahead to their World Championship defence in England in 2015, the unspoken point above all is maintaining the team’s winning legacy.

With three debutants and 12 World Cup winners putting in a command performance considering it was the first test of the season, it is likely that the heady blend of youth and experience will continue.

It is more than likely that the introduction of players to the All Blacks environment will continue, with Sam Cane and Beauden Barrett still to receive their first caps, but they will be mindful of an Irish response.

Captain Brian O’Driscoll said the team had plenty to work on this week, but they will have noted how they were able to disrupt the All Blacks breakdown at times, although by-and-large the host’s pack was able to impose themselves on the contest.

Winger Julian Savea, halfback Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick earned their first test caps, with Savea capping off a dream introduction to international rugby with three tries – just one short of the record set by Sitiveni Sivivatu.

McCaw continued to extend his record as the most capped All Black of all time, registering his 104th test cap.

Carter became the most capped All Blacks first five-eighth, registering his 71st appearance in the number ten jersey, while he extended his world record test point's scoring record to 1,267.

A 107-year unbeaten record against Ireland was maintained, now extending to 25 test matches, while Eden Park remained unconquered since France won in 1994, a sequence now stretching to 28 matches.

The only injury concern for the All Blacks is over blindside flanker Victor Vito, who left the field with a cut to his head, while it has been revealed that he has a medial ligament strain and could be unavailable for the second test in Christchurch.