All Blacks to play Bledisloe warm-ups
July 24, 2013
Steve Hansen is keen to prime combinations in his All Blacks squad ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup Test © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen hopes a double hitout against two provincial opponents will once again have his team primed for the Rugby Championship.
Two 40-minute games against Wellington and Canterbury have been scheduled for August 9 in Wellington, eight days ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Sydney.
The All Blacks did the same thing last year against Counties Manukau and Auckland in Pukekohe.
Hansen said in a statement those matches were ideal preparation for his players and he hoped the same outcome can be achieved in the afternoon fixtures at Lower Hutt's Hutt Recreation Ground.
Wellington coach Chris Boyd and Canterbury counterpart Scott Robertson said the games would also suit them well, less than a week before the NPC provincial championship kicks off.
They will play each other for 40min before the All Blacks play Canterbury for 40min, followed by Wellington.
The All Blacks will complete most of their Sydney Test preparation in Wellington.
They will cross the Tasman two days before the Test and return afterwards to Wellington, which hosts the second Rugby Championship Test on August 24.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has urged the FIA to be vigilant in policing "grey areas" emerging around the changes in the Formula One regulations this year
Claire Williams says it was clear over a year ago that Mercedes was going to be the better engine supplier to be with in 2014
Robin van Persie has insisted he wants to stay at Manchester United and hopes to spend several more years at Old Trafford
Phil Taylor doubled his 2014 Premier League points tally with a hard-fought 7-5 victory against newcomer Dave Chisnall
The pressure on Tim Sherwood and Tottenham cranked up a gear as their hopes of reaching the Europa League quarter-finals were made remote by Benfica's comprehensive victory at White Hart Lane
The fallout from Dublin will settle only when someone from the Australian Rugby Union who was involved in the process states step by step what actually occurred, including how the incident or incidents came to light, Greg Growden writes
"The FIA gets it. Charlie Whiting gets it. It's time the naysayers got it."The Inside Line on F1's lean and green message ahead of the new campaign
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
NCAA college basketball star Gabe Olaseni believes young British players face an even bigger task of earning a crack at the United States after UK Sport's decision to withdraw all Olympic funding
Thought you knew F1? Think again. This weekend's Australian Grand Prix promises to be a step into the unknown, but let ESPN guide you through it with our race preview