Australia v New Zealand, Bledisloe Cup, October 20
Hansen to miss Bledisloe build-up
ESPN Staff
October 15, 2012
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen talks to the media, New Zealand squad announcement, NZRU HQ, Wellington, New Zealand, October 18, 2009
All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has joined his family at the bedside of his ill father © Getty Images

The All Blacks will begin their preparations for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia on Saturday without head coach Steve Hansen whose father is seriously ill.

Assistant coach Ian Foster is set to take a leading role in training this week with Hansen understood to have joined his family at his father's bedside. However, he has stressed that Hansen will still play a part in planning as the All Blacks close in on the record for consecutive Test wins.

"The best thing we can do for him right now is to give him time with his family and do a very good job of preparing for what is going to be a really exciting Test match," Foster told "We will just carry on as normal. We've got good structures and good people in the team and we're trucking along."

Victory over the Wallabies in Brisbane this weekend would extend the All Blacks' winning run to 17 games and equal the mark set by New Zealand between 1965-69 and later equalled by South Africa between 1997 and 1998. The record is held by Lithuania who notched 18 straight victories as they marched up the European pecking order between 2008 and 2010.

"We are certainly aware of it," Foster said of the record, "but there are a few factors this week for us. We've got Kevvie's (hooker Keven Mealamu) 100th Test which is pretty special.

"The beauty about this team is that we get into really good routines as to how we prepare and we know if we prepare well from Sunday to Monday it gives us a great opportunity to play well on Saturday night. Things will happen if we do the process well."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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