The All Blacks are working on how to minimise the effects of travel and altitude in the Rugby Championship – and also to arrive in a good state for the end of season tour to the NH –
“So if we are going to do anything that is the area we have to be smarter. We have got some ideas. How do we deal with the travel how do we have some guys fresh can we do that by not making them go all the way around the world.”
What this may mean in practice is that the coaches use the first four tests of the Rugby Championship to cement the cohesion, flow and effectiveness of the team.
Those opening games will be about tightening the defence, sharpening the attack and being more clinical.
That will be stage one. The last two games will be the time to do things differently with a relatively young and inexperienced squad possibly to be taken to Argentina for the away test against the Pumas.
Maybe that will be the game where we see the likes of Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Scott Barrett and Liam Squire start in the pack, with Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett forming a ridiculously young backline.
While these emerging stars are in Argentina, it might be that a number of hard working older players such as Owen Franks, Jerome Kaino, Israel Dagg and Ryan Crotty skip that leg and fly straight to South Africa for the next encounter.
When players like Anton Lienert Brown, Jordie Barrett, Reiko Ioane and Liam Squire are considered to be ‘second string’ it is scary to see the strength in depth of the All Blacks.
No doubt Steve Hansen will have noted how the Crusaders used their bench yesterday in the last quarter to combat the effects of altitude at Ellis Park – it was a smart move by Scott Robertson.
Increasingly rugby coaching is becoming more sophisticated at the top level, especially in the more affluent Tier One teams.
Eddie Jones has been looking at how other sports can help and is constantly encouraging his coaching team to innovate –
Mind you, after the Brighton training camp he might want to skip the judo lessons!