Planet Rugby

Hansen poised to experiment

29th October 2013 14:15

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Steve Hansen New Zealand

Hansen; trying out new player mixes

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen looks set to experiment with new player combinations as his side take on Japan in Tokyo on Saturday.

The All Blacks are unbeaten in all ten of their 2013 fixtures, and face the Cherry Blossoms ahead of tougher clashes with France, England and Ireland on their European tour.

Hansen has stated that captain Richie McCaw will play at least forty minutes, while returning pivot Dan Carter will also feature.

Japan overcame Wales back in June, and the coach was clear that he would not take the hosts lightly.

"We respect what they do and will have to do well to beat them," he told reporters after the All Blacks' first training session.

"We have got a lot of new combinations so the focus today was on cementing running lines and improving the options."

Prolific winger Ben Smith is set to move in a place in the backline to outside centre, with his experienced namesake Conrad taking a sabbatical from the sport.

"I am learning as I go and have got a wee bit to pick up," said Smith.

"The win over Wales showed Japan are a pretty good team. We will have to be on our game this weekend and will have to get our preparation right to play well."

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