Steve Hansen believes New Zealand will have to be at their very best as the countdown to next year’s British & Irish Lions Tour well and truly heats up.
Saturday's victory over France marked a crucial milestone for the All Blacks – their last game before the Lions series begins this summer. And with England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland all tasting victory over the weekend, it already promises to be a thrilling three-Test encounter.
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Hansen believes his team are ready with a lengthy build-up set to include a 'well-being camp' for his side in January which will serve as a first assessment of the players ahead of the Super Rugby season.
From there Hansen will have to select his squad and he knows the All Blacks will need to hit the ground running at the Lions, with the team led by Warren Gatland playing their first match on June 3 in Whangarei with the first Test on June 24 in Auckland.
"It's been a good year for this young group," said Hansen.
"We've got to be pleased with what we've achieved through the year and we can go home and have a good summer and really build for this Lions series.
Thanks for all of your support this year #TeamAllBlacks! We look forward to playing for you again in 2017. pic.twitter.com/qIhp3gysOp
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) November 28, 2016
"Whilst we did the work that we needed to do, we didn't empty the tank. This time of year is a tough time, round the world twice in nine weeks, with nine time changes and seven games, so the boys did well.
"This year it was about re-establishing ourselves as a team, getting some runs on the board, getting some confidence within those runs and then the next step are the Lions.
"It's going to be a massive tour. They're going to be a good team, probably the best Lions team to come down for a long time with what they've got to select.
"We've put a lot of work into what we want to do. We know we're going to have to redevelop our game a little bit.
"We just can't afford anyone to be behind the eight ball in June because sometimes we get the luxury of allowing the players to go through the June series and getting them in the right condition. But they've got to turn up in the right condition.
"We've put some things in place that will hopefully give us an advantage so we can hit the ground running.”