Hansen doesn't want All Blacks to graze their knee
James Mortimer 29 Oct 2013 Getty Images
While Richie McCaw and Dan Carter are set to be named in the starting team, the All Blacks have long targeted this match to allow fringe players to get more game time.
It will also serve as something of a glamour match for the Japanese Rugby Union, hosting the World Champions in a full sanctioned Test match for the first time on home soil.
Such a fixture is an ideal way to continue Asia’s preparations towards hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the first time the quadrennial tournament has been held outside of rugby’s traditional borders.
History and results point to the being an All Blacks triumph, something that All Blacks coach Steve Hansen conceded to Fairfax Media, and as a consequence he wanted to ensure his troops played to their potential and avoided a potential history making upset.
"That would be putting it mildly," Hansen said.
"That's no disrespect to Japan, but we're expecting to win the game and play really well. But they'll also have an attitude they want to play well and compete, and we saw in the World Cup they put France under a lot of pressure for a long time, so it's not just a matter of turning up.
"We have to respect the opposition and also put a lot of time into us, how we prepare and do it in a genuine fashion. If you take your foot off the pedal you fall off the bike and graze your knee, and we don't want to do that."
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