All Blacks and Super Rugby about to start awkward union
Next Tuesday All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will name his first official squad for 2013, with a 'training camp' being held in Mount Maunganui the following weekend to commence the next level of planning for what will be a tricky Test season for the World Champions.
However it would not be a surprise if the currently injured Ma'a Nonu was part of the first All Blacks session.
For the other four New Zealand franchises, it will be a demand on the man management skills of the Super Rugby coaching staff, for while some might class it as a disruption, it is a reality of the professional game.
Having players called up for Test duty appears to be a double edged sword.
The popular tune being sung at this time is that All Blacks don't fire up early in the Super Rugby season, but few coaches will deny it is a huge honour for both player and franchise to be called into a Test camp, even if it means that a squad - and as a consequence possibly standings - need to be ready for adjustments.
The first camp officially runs from Sunday May 19 till Tuesday May 21.
Prior to the camp, the Crusaders and Hurricanes host the Blues and Chiefs respectively in Round 14 of Investec Super Rugby.
Following the camp is a blockbuster between the Chiefs and Crusaders, the opening match of Round 15, while the Blues play a massive match against the Brumbies.
With a shortened prep window, Super Rugby coaches will need to make the decision on how to manage All Blacks call ups. In the latter matches cases, some players if selected would have a three to four day turnaround to play.
There is a second training camp on Sunday May 26 (running till the following Tuesday), with the Steinlager Series against France commencing on June 8 at Eden Park.