All Blacks making progress toward recuperation could before long be back in real life, with mentor Ian Foster demonstrating his craving to get a few players some game time at the earliest opportunity on their impending northern visit.
The All Blacks are set to make a trip to the United States in the coming days, with a test against the USA Eagles in Washington DC next Sunday morning, prior to making a beeline for Europe to meet Wales, Italy, Ireland and France.
While there was still a lot of water to go under the scaffold before Foster chosen the side to take on the Eagles, he said it got down to business as an optimal chance to once again introduce a few players back into test rugby.
There are not many greater spectacles in sport than a passionate performance of the Star-Spangled Banner. 🎶🇺🇸
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“We’ll settle on that choice when we’re around there, however I think we’ve effectively hailed any semblance of Sam Cane, Dane Coles – especially folks who have been out for some time with injury, this would be an optimal game to get them back in there,” Foster said.
Cane and Coles have both made their returns to rugby through the provincial game in recent weeks following lengthy stints on the sidelines due to injury, with Cane playing at the Heartland level for King Country and Coles in the NPC with Wellington.
Foster said while he hadn’t personally seen their full performances for those games, he was confident in what he had seen and heard of how they are tracking.
“They’re guys that we trust a lot; we’ve had people watching them, we’ve got Foxy [All Blacks selector Grant Fox] back there and we’re pretty keen that physically they’re okay,” Foster said.
If we take it that the USA and Italy will be defeated with few concerns, and France will be the toughest nut to crack on this tour, then that leaves Wayne Pivac’s Wales, who cannot call on the likes of England-based Dan Biggar and Louis Rees-Zammit, and Ireland, third in the Six Nations, as further stern challenges.