Mix of World Cup winning All Blacks and youngsters combining well
James Mortimer 20 Oct 2013 Getty Images
Most World Championship winning sides have had difficult times managing the tricky transition where some legends literally need to be tapped on the shoulder, while the second tier players wait in queue without getting the crucial game time needed to develop their careers.
Not with these All Blacks.
Hansen has so far debuted 17 new Test players since taking the coaching reigns, and has built some remarkable depth in positions that were previously problem children.
Richie McCaw and Dan Carter can be replaced without skipping a beat, while the development in other areas - namely lock, blindside, scrumhalf and wing – has given the side unprecedented depth.
There are, as always, work on positions, but Ben Smith had already begun a potential transition to centre, while the inclusion of Luke Whitelock in the touring squad was part of a goal to develop backup for Kieran Read.
Hansen was happy with how everything was progressing.
“It is going along nicely,” he said.
“The senior guys are performing really well and are performing with a huge amount of desire.
“This environment is working with the young guys, whose enthusiasm is notable in the squad.
“They are learning of the more experienced and we will continue to use the system that works for us.
If Whitelock, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Frank Halai and TJ Perenara debut on the Air New Zealand end of year tour, it will lift the new All Black count since winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup to 21 players.
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