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All Blacks get Lions prep in early

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6 days ago Angelo Risso
<span style="font-size:13px;">The All Blacks will reconvene in January on home soil for a "wellbeing camp" designed to prepare the side for their Test series with the Lions.</span> © REUTERS/Benoit Tessier The All Blacks will reconvene in January on home soil for a "wellbeing camp" designed to prepare the side for their Test series with the Lions.

The All Blacks will hold a four-day January "wellbeing camp" in an attempt to get their troops into top condition for the upcoming Lions tour.

The world champions, having won three of this month's four northern tour Tests, have flown off on their summer holidays after outclassing France 24-19 in Paris on Saturday.

After enjoying a little sun, all 2016 All Blacks representatives and several others impressing coach Steve Hansen will convene for camp in New Zealand.

The retreat will focus primarily on strength and conditioning, as well as mental sharpness, and take place before the Super Rugby campaign recommences.

"It'll allow them to go into Super Rugby in really the best nick," Hansen said.

"We know we'll have to redevelop our game a little, the important part is making sure we transition these guys back into their franchises, making sure they get a good off-season."

The side will then also have a fortnight together before their first Test against the Lions, overseen by Kiwi boss Warren Gatland, in Auckland on June 24.

Two more Tests will follow in Wellington and Auckland on July 1 and 8, interspersed by Lions matches against each Super Rugby club, the Maori All Blacks and a Provincial XV.

The Lions will play 10 matches in total over five weeks and, according to Hansen, bring their strongest squad to the Shaky Isles in decades.

In terms of manpower, Hansen confirmed crocked Blues recruit and double World Cup-winner Sonny Bill Williams was on track for a return to action, as was rake Nathan Harris.

Both were likely to take place in the January camp.

Hansen also declined to guarantee All Blacks call-ups would be permitted to take on the Lions with their franchises, but said it'd be fine in certain circumstances.

"Some will and some may not because of the timing, but where the timings are right, we probably will (release them)," Hansen said.

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