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All Blacks expect to go with settled side

  • All Blacks expect to go with settled side

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 11: All Black coach Steve Hansen during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Wales at Eden Park on June 11, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has signalled that there will be few, if any, selection changes for the second Test against Wales in Wellington.

Traditionally slow starters to a season, New Zealand trailed with a quarter of the opening match of the three-Test series remaining before a big finish carried them to a 39-21 win in Auckland.

"I think we will look to keep it pretty settled at this stage," Hansen said on Sunday.

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"There's no point rehashing what we've just done this week and having another rusty performance. We need to put a few together.

"There might be one or two changes, but I wouldn't think there would be many, if any."

Lock Sam Whitelock was among those who sat out on Saturday night as he recovered from a hamstring complaint.

Hansen rated the 73-cap Whitelock as 50-50 to be available for next Saturday night.

Meanwhile, centre Charlie Ngatai wouldn't be considered as he continued to work his way back from concussion.

"He's still struggling a bit so it's just better for him to be out of the environment and have no pressure," Hansen said.

Hansen pointed to the transitions from attack to defence, and from defence to attack as among areas for improvement from the All Blacks.

So too was defence out wide, where he felt winger George North, who made a number of dangerous breaks before ending the match injured, was given too much space.

The breakdown, especially having the backs be better in the contest for the ball, and a couple of poor early lineouts were other facets that needed tweaking.

"We won't panic too much," Hansen said.

For Wales, the result meant their wait for a first victory over New Zealand since 1953 stretches on.

The defeat was compounded by North picking up a hamstring injury that has him doubt for next weekend.

North was injured in the final move of the match as substitute hooker Nathan Harris grabbed the All Blacks' fifth try.

He will undergo further assessment, but coach Warren Gatland has already called in Keelan Giles from the Wales side at the under-20 world championship in Manchester.

Gatland has also sent for fullback Rhys Patchell after substitute back Gareth Anscombe took a blow during the match.

While the All Blacks' focus is now firmly on the second Test, Wales have a fixture on Tuesday against the Chiefs in Gatland's home town of Hamilton.

Gatland is expected to give game time to those players from his 35-strong tour party who didn't get on the field at Eden Park.

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