Rugby World Cup 2019: Coach Steve Hansen 'couldn't be clearer' on All Blacks squad

On Thursday, we'll finally know Steve Hansen’s best available XV, when he names his starting line-up to take on South Africa in the Rugby World Cup opener.

Brodie Retallick's injury withstanding, Hansen says it will be his best side and there are no doubts in his mind about any positions.

Almost without fail before All Blacks tests, the coaches yield eager reporters, keen on an early insight into selections.

The players are told before Wednesday’s training. The public must wait, so cards aren’t revealed early.

But the coach has come into this World Cup with no doubts on his best XV. That was helped by their last major test outing - 36-0 over Australia.

Sonny Bill Williams showed his worth at Eden Park and could be joined by Jack Goodhue in the midfield. 

The big question is whether in-form wingers George Bridge and Sevu Reece are ahead of Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith.

Smith has been a permanent starter for seven years, but the wing/fullback could now be in the reserves.

If Sevu Reece starts over Smith, he would've jumped from club to Super Rugby to World Cup starter in a few months.

While the players won't give away who is in, the fact Hansen is settled on his line-up helps preparations.

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