‘All Blacks far from vulnerable’ – Hansen

Date published: May 29 2016

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen believes that the All Blacks are set to re-establish their dominance on the world stage after naming his first squad of the year to take on Wales in Auckland on June 11.

Hansen has selected a mix of youth and experience with six uncapped players being included in his 32-man squad.

The 2015 World Cup winning coach told AAP that due to his side's status they will need to take their game to another level, after losing a wealth of experience in fly-half Dan Carter, centres Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith as well as captain Richie McCaw, who all retired from international rugby after the 2015 World Cup.

"A lot of teams and various people around the world probably believe we're a little bit vulnerable and to that I can assure you that's not our mindset," said Hansen.

"Our mindset is not one of rebuilding but one of re-establishing. Our challenge is taking this team to a higher level than where we left off at the World Cup."

Hansen added that it was now time for a new breed of All Black stars to shine on the world stage.

"We have chopped down a few trees who have cast some fairly large shadows for a long time and I believe when you do that the grass grows," he added.

"We're well aware that what we did yesterday will not be enough for today, so we'll be looking to raise the bar to an even higher level from where we've been.

"This is our challenge – one, I must say, we're really looking forward to getting stuck into."