Retirements and departures have forced Steve Hansen to rebuild his squad.
Just as Nigel Owens blew the final whistle on the World Cup final, it was not lost on New Zealand fans that this particular All Black squad was set to break up.
In one swoop, Steve Hansen would lose over 800 caps worth of experience, as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks and Colin Slade all announced that were either retiring or leaving for Europe.
As a result, the succession plan put in place by the All Black’s management would be put to the test this summer.
Although Kieran Read had been earmarked to captain New Zealand in the post McCaw era, question marks hung over who would partner him in the backrow.
Perhaps the biggest test for Hansen will come in the back line, where he will have to replace the vastly experienced Carter, Nonu and Smith.
Consequently, this New Zealand’s squad announcement was going to be watched with huge interest, as it should act as a signpost for the future.
Kieran Read, captain
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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