A test against Japan has become more significant and intense because of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s approach to the All Blacks selections.
Hansen has selected eight new caps in his squad for the match in Tokyo on Saturday, the most rookies in one All Blacks squad since 1986.
The 23 players selected were part of a 51 member squad of which was picked for New Zealand’s five match tour.
Hansen and his backers have hit back against those claims, saying such measures are necessary in modern rugby because of the workload the international players face in a season that runs from February to December.
The impression from some fans in New Zealand remains that Hansen has been reckless with the All Blacks heritage and disrespectful toward Japan.
Hansen has also framed the match as a selection exercise with relevance to next year’s World Cup in Japan.
The All Blacks will take on Japan at 5.45pm today.
In other Northern tour tests tomorrow, Wales will face Scotland at 3.45am, England will take on South Africa at 4am while Ireland will take on Italy at 9am.
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