Steve Hansen has confirmed that two of his most experienced players won’t be in line for selection against the Wallabies in two weeks time.
Brodie Retallick, who dislocated his shoulder against the Springboks over the weekend, will be out of action for an extended period of time.
As such, the 28-year-old lock won’t be included in a New Zealand squad trimmed from 39 to 34 players to contest two Bledisloe Cup Tests which will be announced on Wednesday.
Hansen confirmed a second omission, however, in the form of midfielder Sonny Bill Williams. Williams won’t travel to Perth for the August 10 clash as Hansen wants the veteran inside centre to play two provincial pre-season games in the next fortnight to improve his match fitness after a year dogged by injury.
Williams was patchy against the Springboks and later needed stitches to his nose but he has clearly done enough to survive the next cull, with Hansen targeting his selection for the August 17 Test at Eden Park.
“A guy that hasn’t played very much rugby at all was obviously going to be rusty so I don’t think we can get too judgmental,” Hansen said.
“The fact his body held together was encouraging.”
Hansen wasn’t panicking about opening their season with two muddled Rugby Championship performances, having scraped past Argentina 20-16 and been out played in the first half by the intense South Africans.
“We haven’t had a lot of preparation time so we knew that at times, with the new stuff we were introducing, that we were going to be a little off. And we were,” Hansen said.
“There’s enough signs to say that if we keep working away and get our timing and execution better, then we’re going to hurt some teams. So we’re not going to panic, we’ll just take a big deep breath and keep moving.”
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.