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All Blacks sprinkle caps like confetti with England and Ireland in mind | Gerard Meagher

New Zealand will field a second-string in Tokyo on Saturday as their first-choice side lands in London to prepare for tougher autumn assignments

When New Zealand face Japan in Tokyo on Saturday, the All Blacks will be thousands of miles away. Dress it up any way you like but by announcing a squad to face the Brave Blossoms featuring eight rookies at almost the precise moment 23 frontline players were boarding a flight to London, Steve Hansen is handing out confetti caps.

No less than 22 of the 23-man squad who beat Australia in Yokohama last weekend, as well as Jack Goodhue, are due to land in the UK on Thursday afternoon – ahead of schedule to the extent they are due to touch down before England return from their warm-weather training camp in Portugal. England, of course, have South Africa to negotiate first. Kieran Read described this as a “weird week” and he is not wrong.

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