“They’ve earned their place on the pitch”.
Carter may still be third in the flyhalf pecking order behind Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade and Saturday’s match will test whether he can rise further.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made just four changes to the starting XV that beat Samoa 25-16 in Apia last week but has continued to rest some of his frontline stars, including the Smith troika – Ben, Conrad and Aaron – after heavy Super Rugby playoffs workloads. Those who’ve contributed massively to the extraordinary record over the last four years and who will refuse to be intimated, distracted or panicked no matter what the opposition produces- they’re the players the selectors have placed their faith in.
McCaw said it would be a case of adapting to whatever the conditions threw up.
Melissa Thompson will be cheering on her beloved All Blacks at AMI Stadium in Christchurch tonight and will also be travelling with All Blacks Tours to Rugby World Cup 2015.
As outsiders, albeit improving all the time, the Pumas and their coach Daniel Hourcade have no hesitation in considering the Championship as part of the World Cup campaign.
There will be moves, set-piece plays that will change a little bit but we have got to practise the way we play.
The dominance of the All Blacks can not be understated, having lost just twice in their previous 50 games, a historical era of dominance since they captured the World Cup in 2011 that they’ll be looking to defend this year.
It’s in stark contrast to last week, when the All Blacks battled sticky, humid heat as well as a brutal Samoan pack in Apia. Although he has yet to officially confirm his retirement, he is expected to withdraw from all forms of the game following the World Cup.
The old hands among the All Blacks are the key this season.
Several players under pressure to produce strong performances, produced them.
Backline star Juan Martin Hernandez, who plays for French club Toulon, is a notable omission from the side to face the All Blacks in the opening match of the Rugby Championship which also includes South Africa and Australia. Israel Dagg had a confident match at fullback, competing well for the ball in the air, and Williams, while still showing some limitations, extended attacks with his offloads.
“The All Blacks are always tough in every area of the game and their scrum is one area that’s very tough”, veteran prop Marcos Ayerza said.
“But no one has won it back to back… hopefully we can get to that level of desperation, that level of want, so we can get another result”. We are not good enough to hide it and then suddenly flick a switch come the quarter-final and try six new things.