Exciting year for All Blacks selectors13:02:00, Wed 22 Apr 2015 Kirstie Nisbett
With just under three months until the All Blacks play their first Test of the year, a historic match against Samoa in Apia, there are certainly some big Investec Super Rugby games to be played and important selection decisions to be made.
The question on the minds of many New Zealanders this year is; will Steve Hansen and the All Blacks selection panel look to branch out in their selection choices for the upcoming matches to see how the younger players handle what comes with wearing the black jersey, or will he stick to his guns with the sheer focus of wanting to put the best team available on the field in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup 2015?
As Hansen has said “the immediate challenge is Rugby World Cup 2015, which gets most of our focus, but it’s about winning today and also making sure you’re looking to the future so you can win tomorrow”. 2016 promises to be a challenging year for All Black Rugby and Hansen already has plenty to think about, with his prediction that he could lose up to 15 players to overseas teams, retirement or to the All Black Sevens, who will be aiming for gold at the Olympics in Rio.
But for now, it’s all about performing well this year. The All Blacks will face Samoa, Argentina, South Africa and Australia (twice) in the build up for Rugby World Cup 2015. You can be sure Hansen and co, will be keeping a close eye on Super Rugby matches in the coming months and the form players who are taking the likes of the Hurricanes and the Highlanders into serious play-off contention for the first time in some years.