Topic: Rugby

All Blacks building combinations for World Cup

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

As the All Blacks look to secure their second victory in the three-test series against France in Wellington on Saturday, Steve Hansen is backing the same squad in an attempt to build strong combinations ahead of the Rugby World Cup next year.

Hansen says pace and accuracy will see the All Blacks secure another win.

“They'll try and slow the game down, that's the pace they want to play at and we want to play it at full bore with accuracy.  So that's our challenge and if it comes off, doesn't matter who you play, if you play that game well you can rip anyone apart,” says Hansen.

After competing for 50 minutes in the first test, Hansen is expecting a strong and regrouped French side to turn up tomorrow night.

“They've played for 50 minutes right in the game and they'll take a lot of confidence out of that.  [There's] been a lot of talk of the yellow card and how that changed the game, I think they'll think they're in the fight and they'll come with plenty to play for and we’ll have to step it up a notch or two.”

Hanses explains he's putting an outfit together that will gel ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Tokyo.

“We're looking to try and build some combinations.  At this time of year that's really important because you've got guys playing for different franchises and if you chop and change every week, history will tell us that we're sloppy.  But, as the season goes on I think we'll have to take some risk too.” 

The All Blacks will look to sort out their midfield combination after some mistimed moments last week.

Midfielder Anton Lienet-Brown says, “It's about the whole midfield working together and we connect really well and we work hard during the week to make sure that us as unit can go out and put on a good performance.”

The second test kicks off at 7:30pm at the Cake Tin in Wellington on Saturday.