• Hansen and His Lieutenants Face Difficult Selection Process

    It is hard to dispute that All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen knows a thing or two when it comes to putting the best possible side on the ground when New Zealand plays international football, so it is entirely possible that two deserving players may be left off when the All Blacks travel to Japan for Rugby World Cup 2019.

    Hansen believes and has demonstrated the validity of his belief that the best chance of success accompanies experienced players, so Ryan Crotty and Ngani Laumape will await the announcement of the Rugby World Cup with bated breath.

    The reason for their anxiety is that one or both of the men, both of whom have excelled in the current season of Super Rugby, might be left off in favour of Sonny Bill Williams.

    Hansen will be watching to gauge Williams’ fitness, beginning when the Blues play the Hurricanes weekend coming.

    Crotty and Ngani have been more than adequate over the span of the last two years, but could be left home in favour of more experienced players.

    Williams has been plagued by injuries this Super Rugby season and his selection could prove risky, but Hansen has shown a willingness to accept risks and his results as the All Blacks coach suggest that his risks are carefully calculated.

    Much can transpire between now and when the World Cup begins later this year, so for some players, disappointment could be followed by elation.

    As Super Rugby comes into the last month of its regular season and moving into the playoffs, he and his assistants will be examining the five New Zealand Super Rugby clubs carefully.

    Hansen has the help of Ian Foster and Grant Fox in making what figures to be the most important selections over the past four years as New Zealand is keen on defending the 2015 championship.