Hansen's role unsure for Bledisloe Cup
Mon, 15 Oct 2012 6:42p.m.
By Hamish McKay
It's still not clear how much of a role All Black coach Steve Hansen will have in the build up to Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup test in Brisbane.
Hansen's father, Des, who was a highly respected club coach in Christchurch, is understood to be seriously ill.
The All Blacks are scheduled to fly to Brisbane on Thursday, but no decision has been made on whether Hansen will join the team.
The All Blacks plan to continue their rich vein of form, but they're doing it without coach Steve Hansen, who is spending time with his unwell father.
Assistant coach Ian Foster says the team wants to support Hansen.
“We're all feeling for him but the best thing we can do for him right now is give him time with his family and do a very good job preparing for what is going to be a very exciting this match for us.”
The All Blacks are on the verge of an exciting milestone – a record equalling 17 test wins on-the-trot by a tier-one nation.
“We're certainly aware of it,” Foster says. “There’s a few factors this week I guess. You know we've got Kevvy's [Keven Mealamu's] 100th, which is pretty special.”
All Blacks centre Conrad Smith is feeling good about the upcoming match.
“We're in a pretty buoyant mood at the moment, stringing together some wins and playing pretty well and we just want to keep riding that wave and we're aware that takes a lot of hard work.”
While the Bledisloe Cup is locked away, it's far from dead, with revenge for last year’s loss in Brisbane a source of motivation.
Lock Sam Whitelook is keen to win.
“I played the whole game and it’s not nice to lose in the black jersey, and losing to Aussie always hurts a bit more. And there’s a few of the guys in this squad who played in that game, so we're looking at getting over there and righting that wrong.”
Then there's the element of a desperate Robbie Deans as he fights for his survival in the wake of ARU boss John O'Neill’s departure.
“They'll want to ambush us. They'll be looking forward to this,” Smith says.
The team will be named on Thursday with the left wing call between Hosea Gear and Julian Savea expected to be the closest selection call.
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