6 Sep 2011

All Blacks to stick to core group this time round

11:33 pm on 6 September 2011

The All Blacks intend using the blueprint which brought them their only Rugby World Cup title in 1987 for this year's tournament.

Assistant coach Steve Hansen says while they will not be able to pick the same 15 for each match, they hope to use a core group of players for every game.

The All Blacks' 2007 quarter-final exit in Cardiff was in part blamed on a rotation policy, but Hansen says things will be different this time.

The 1987 All Blacks were a settled side that had few changes in their line-up over the six tournament matches.

The same formula was used in 1995 when the team made the final before losing to South Africa in extra time.

Hansen says New Zealand needs to make an emphatic statement in the opening match against Tonga at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday night.

Something akin to John Kirwan's solo try against Italy in the 1987 tournament opener is what is needed, he says.