All Blacks face an 'ideal' challenge

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Lynn McConnell     24 Jul 2015     Getty Images

With first five-eighths Lima Sopoaga and lock James Broadhurst making their debuts on Saturday at Ellis Park, it would be the perfect environment to see how they reacted, Hansen said.

"We are mindful of the fact there is a World Cup at the end of the year and we've got to select the right 31 people to go to that.

"We are also mindful we've got to have an experienced side on the park to be able to compete but, at the same time, we have to be brave enough to make some selections that will allow us to go forward in future," he said.

While there was every chance the two sides could meet in the quarter-finals at the World Cup, Hansen was not prepared to look beyond Saturday.

"This is about this contest, and what we can learn about ourselves and about South Africa. It's about a performance that we can be proud and hopefully good enough for us to get a win.

"You've got to have the ability to play a tight game, as well as a free-flowing game, then you look at the opposition and pick the way you like," he said.

South Africa faced a similar situation regarding their future plans and Hansen acknowledged his rival coach Heyneke Meyer had been forced to look at his mid-field combination in the wake of injury to captain Jean de Villiers.

But with first five-eighths Handre Pollard, second five-eighths Damian de Allende and centre Jesse Kriel South Africa had a potentially superb combination.

"They haven't had a lot of Test matches but they are certainly good athletes. The boy that has moved in from fullback [Kriel], he really looked good last week, he's got some gas.

"His partner [de Allende] is a big, strong boy and Pollard looks like he can be something special as time goes on.

"I think they'll look to grow that combination as time goes by and hopefully Jean de Villiers would be back. It would be great to see him back from his knee injury.

"I know he's worked really hard but once there is a change in the guard I tell you those three will be there for some time," Hansen said.

South Africa's choice of two fetchers on the sides of their scrum was a threat at breakdown time, he said. But it may also provide some room for the All Blacks at lineouts.

"He [Meyer] has a game plan in mind that he wants to play and he wants two guys on the park that are effective at the breakdown and put pressure on us. You get an understanding of how he wants to play the game," Hansen said.

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