New Zealand Rugby
All Blacks look to media for support
ESPNscrum Staff
October 22, 2010

The All Blacks are to break with tradition when naming their team in the future and have asked the New Zealand media to help them deny their rivals an advantage.

Assistant coach Steve Hansen has revealed that the reigning Tri-Nations champions will announce their selection on Thursdays instead of Tuesdays - starting on their forthcoming tour to Hong Kong and Europe - with the aim of keeping their opponents guessing for as long as possible. And Hansen is hoping the New Zealand media will do the patriotic thing and help keep the team's selection out of the public eye.

New Zealand begin their tour with the final Bledisloe Cup clash of the year against Australia in Hong Kong, before moving onto Europe to face England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales on successive weekends

"We were asking ourselves why we give the opposition so much time to sit there and know who's playing and analyse us," said Hansen. "It was making their job easier. We don't want to give them an easy break. Some people might say we've been a bit picky, but we want to give it a try and see how it goes."

Addressing the assembled media, Hansen called on journalists to ignore what they saw on the training field in their reports. This could involve asking media not to report on which combinations of players were running together in training, which could suggest what the likely team was.

"Yes, you'll know who's playing by how they're training and (we'll be asking you) basically keep that to yourselves and writing your stories and reporting your news reports without absolutely coming out and saying well, this is the team," he said. We're all New Zealanders and we're all in it together so I think we all want the same thing, so we'll work through the issue of that with you guys and that shouldn't be a problem."

Hansen said the Thursday team naming experiment would be assessed at the end of the tour before management decide whether to continue with it for 2011.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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