James Mortimer 02.Aug.2012Getty Images
Two weekends ago the Reds became the last Australian Conference team to knocked out of the 2012 season, and the Queensland contingent of players were added to a Wallabies training camp that is effectively in full swing.
For New Zealand, not only are the Chiefs still in action, but the Crusaders wrapped up their campaign last weekend – while in South Africa the Stormers will be doing their breakdown and analysis of the season this week.
Based on early season representation, roughly fifteen All Blacks will make a late transition from Super Rugby to the test stage.
This gives the Wallabies an immense advantage according to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
'I think it's a big advantage to them,' he said.
'The more preparation time you have, the better chance you have of getting your game organised and your structures built in and the clarity.'
Hansen is currently overseeing a two-day All Blacks camp in Wellington this week, with a 28 man training squad notable for its absence of Chiefs representatives.
The Wallabies named a 36 player squad in Sydney for the second of two Wallabies training camps, meaning that the truncated preparation that the Australians had in June, where they were ambushed by Scotland in Newcastle, shouldn’t occur again.
Hansen noted that the All Blacks were able to quickly shift from Super Rugby to the international season when preparing for their three-test Steinlager Series against Ireland.
'We were very fortunate that we managed to, in a very short period of time, get that sorted against Ireland,' Hansen said.
'But the Investec Rugby Championship is going to be a totally different contest.'