IRANZ Insight: All Black Test positions on the line

Steve Hansen has named a beatable All Black team to play Argentina this weekend.

He explains his strategy by comparing the next two matches with knock-out matches at next year’s RWC in Tokyo. I think this is clever, but not without risk.

It reminds me of Chicago a couple of years ago when the Irish beat the All Blacks for the first time. Moala started at centre, Kaino & Tuipulotu started at lock. They have not been named in those positions in a test since.

Ireland beat the All Blacks for the first time in 111 years in November 2016. Photo credit: RTE

The vulnerable areas in this starting line-up are the scrum, where there are two IRANZ Graduates in the front row, and in the loose forward mobility and backline defence.

The question Hansen and his co-selectors are asking is, whether three or four of these players are good enough to play under pressure at the highest level.

We already know they are good enough one step down.

Further motivation and intrigue revolve around the possibility the All Blacks could lose two in a row. Unheard of, but, these questionable selections are a definite risk against an Argentinian fifteen who have come of age and are playing in a parochial home environment.

Don’t miss this match, and carefully watch the front row, loose forward support play, midfield and three-quarter defence.