All Blacks: Steven Hansen pleased with rookies in Japan win

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says he's thrilled with how his inexperienced team fared in their 69-31 win over Japan on Saturday.

With a number of senior players already in Europe for this year's northern tour, Hansen named eight debutants in his match-day 23 to face the Brave Blossoms in Tokyo.

Flanker Dalton Papali'i and centre Matt Proctor started in their debut matches while Tyrel Lomax, loose forwards Dillon Hunt and Gareth Evans, halfback Mitchell Drummond, first five-eighth Brett Cameron and outside back George Bridge all came off the bench for their debuts.

The team that played Japan had a combined 178 tests of international experience, making it one of the most-inexperienced All Blacks sides ever. But the squad held their own, crossing over for 10 tries in the match to Japan's four.

George Bridge scored two tries in his test debut.
George Bridge scored two tries in his test debut. Photo credit: Photosport

Hansen admitted some of the rookies might not play for the All Blacks again until after next year's World Cup, but they do have a future in the black jersey.

"You've got to be really happy with it, don't you?" said Hansen.

"There was a fair amount of risk going into this game, but we felt as a management group that the rewards were going to be bigger than the risk, and a number of people have done themselves really proud tonight.

"There is a large group who may not play in the next 12 months for the All Blacks, but they will certainly be involved in the future because of the quality they showed.

"We gave opportunities and as a selector we learned a lot about a lot of people this week and that has been great."

The All Black next face England in Twickenham, who claimed a 12-11 win over South Africa on Sunday.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz