James Mortimer 29.Oct.2013Getty Images
The Japanese would have been thrilled when it was announced that the two All Blacks superstars would play, with their presence a brilliant advertisement for the game here ahead of the hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Immediately the presence of the two brings 217 Test matches to the All Blacks squad, but the fact that their interrupted 2013 seasons has led to them being named in the touring squad has only benefitted the players around them.
The likes of Sam Cane, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett have had their international careers fast-tracked due to the amount of match time they have received this season.
The All Blacks still boast many of the most experienced players in their respective positions in New Zealand history, and the likes of McCaw, Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore boast record levels of Test hardening.
But the careful plans of the All Blacks coaching staff to develop the next tier is paying handsome dividends, with many of the next tier of All Blacks already well into double figures.
Even with an advance party of ten All Blacks already heading to Paris, it will not be a green team that faces Japan.
Coach Steve Hansen said to the NZ Herald that as the calendar had unfolded a host of players had continued to gain precious opportunities.
"When the team gets named I think people will be pleasantly surprised how much experience that group does have now," he said.
"I think we've had something like 17 injuries this year so there's been plenty of opportunities for everybody to get rugby.
“It has been going along quite seamlessly really…there's not a lot of 50-test players but there's quite a few with 10, 20, 30 test matches, and that's more than enough to be able to get the job done properly.
Hansen did say that despite the squad depth being developed, man management of the players was crucial to maintain the attitude and hunger of the group.
“It's exciting,” he said.
“But it's all got to be managed, you've got to make people feel like they're valued and to get the best out of them being valued is important.
“It's an opportunity to show we do value them and an opportunity to say 'righto, we've got four or five leaders staying at home, we've got to fill that breach, here's your opportunity to step up and do that and have a different type of experience building into a test match'."