Rugby: All Blacks coach Ian Foster dismisses past form for Bledisloe Cup selection

Six days out from the opening Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington, All Blacks coach Ian Foster has already settled on his first starting 15 of the year.

On Tuesday, the team assembled in the capital and while Foster may have his starting side in mind, there's plenty about this match up that isn't quite so clear.

Test week starts in the gym for the All Blacks, who have welcomed the sense of familiarity that's been missing for almost a year.

"This is a week we've been waiting for for a long long time," Foster says.

Despite being involved with the team for the last eight years, Foster warns past form will count for nothing.

"There are players that've been here a while that I've got a lot of knowledge and experience with and they've got that to fall back on," he says. 

"But for us, it's about who's performing well right now."

But exactly what Foster's starting side will come up against remains a relative unknown.

Despite the first test of 2020 being against one of their most familiar rivals, the little exposure the two teams have had to each other means this year's clash with the Wallabies will be different.

"We still know a little bit about them but we can't obviously pinpoint exactly what and how they're gonna play," says lock Sam Whitelock.

"They've got a bit of the English background, a bit of the Scottish background and a bit of kiwi background, so that's an unusual mix for an Australian team," Foster adds. 

And it's a feeling that goes both ways.

"It's hard to analyse them because they haven't played a game," says Wallabies back Matt Toomua. 

"I guess we take hints from last year, so we've watched clips from our two games last year."

"There's going to be a bit of the unknown so that makes it a huge test for both camps," says Foster.

The ledger appears to be even for the first All Blacks showdown of the year.

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