Hansen backs new faces to deliver

Date published: June 10 2016

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has full confidence for the players replacing retired All Blacks giants to deliver on Saturday.

Embarking on a new era without the likes of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, not to mention Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith, it's a new-look for the world champions as they go into a three-Test series with Wales.

Hansen admitted that the build-up to the Tests had felt like the start of his reign four years ago, but he feels the coaches have created the right environment for the squad to excel.

"It feels like 2012 all over again. We're starting to re-establish this group," Hansen told Stuff.

"I've got a lot of faith in the group. Players will tell you when they're ready.

"You've just got to make sure you have an environment where they excel. Get your culture and training environment right, and make sure there's an equal amount of learning and fun, that formula works well for us.

"It's taken a while to move forward but I'm confident we're very much in a good space at the moment. There's a group who are really excited about the challenge of leading the team and having their time in the jersey.

"It's their moment to show New Zealand and the world for that matter what they can do.

Hansen also has full faith that Wales will be competitive, despite coming into the game at Eden Park off a disappointing loss to England two weeks ago.

"We're playing a very good side on Saturday who I think have been underestimated here in New Zealand because of their last performance," Hansen added.

"There'll be some road bumps but I'm hoping not too many."