Risk and reward in All Blacks' choices for Argentina

Getty Images

Lynn McConnell     22 Sep 2017     Getty Images

The last time the pair were rested was in the side's loss to Ireland in Chicago last year.

"It's about the risk and reward really, if we don't do things differently we are going to get to the end of the year and the three Test matches in the UK become extremely difficult because you've got tired athletes.

"That's where we lost the game last year on the beginning of that tour," he said.

Luke Romano also hadn't been available for that game so with Scott Barrett playing his first Test and Jerome Kaino out of position as a lock, a decision they got wrong, he said.

Since then Barrett had got a lot of miles under his belt while Patrick Tuipulotu was back playing well for Auckland and Romano was playing well so the scenario was a little different this time, he said.

Kaino had been getting valuable game time with Auckland while Tuipulotu was regaining his confidence after what he been a tough 12 months for him.

"He's hung in there well, he's playing well I think in a team that's struggling a little but he's leading that team and doing his utmost on the park to lead it through his actions so he's pretty good shape. I had a good chat to him before and he's excited. That's where you want him, he's a good athlete when he's on song and we think he's coming to that," he said.

"We're comfortable in our skin that these guys are good enough if they prepare well enough to play well so we'll give ourselves a chance of winning the game."

Lima Sopoaga had dropped out of the Argentine leg as his wife is due to have their first child and it had always been a possibility that Beauden Barrett would be called in, and that call came through on Thursday evening. If all goes well, Sopoaga will join the side in South Africa.

While it affected the planned break for Barrett, Hansen said he may be given a break after the final Australia Test next month and get a late start joining the team ahead of the Barbarians game in London in November.

It had always been intended the Barbarians game would be a chance for the less experienced players to start. "The younger guys will have an opportunity to experience it all without the pressure," he said.

Hansen confirmed post-operation rehabilitation was under way for props Owen Franks and Joe Moody and fullback Israel Dagg had met with a surgeon and it was decided rest would be the best option for his knee so he will be out for the remainder of the year.

He said the selectors did still manage to keep an eye on the Mitre 10 Cup competition and he felt the standard had been good this year.

"Some of the players are starting to mature a little bit and when you get a cycle off the World Cup you get a big change and lose a few people and now those guys have been in Mitre 10 teams for a couple of years and they're starting to establish themselves, especially the ones who haven't quite made Super Rugby yet.

"There's been a couple of interesting results. Canterbury-Wellington the other day was a pretty big reversal of form on paper but when you look at they'd won their last two games by 78 points and as a young athlete it's very easy to let your feet drift off the floor so they've come crashing back down and it will be interesting to see how they go against North Harbour. It's quite an interesting tournament," he said.