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Hurricanes' All Blacks will skip the Tens

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/01/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes. © Cameron Spencer/GETTY IMAGES Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes. The Super Rugby champion Hurricanes have confirmed none of their first-choice All Blacks will take part in the inaugural Brisbane Global Tens.

A stand-off is looming ahead of the pre-season tournament after organisers said at least 10 current New Zealand internationals will suit up for the tournament on February 11-12.

Much of the advertising around the event has centred on leading All Blacks such Israel Dagg, Jerome Kaino and Damian McKenzie.

However, the New Zealand Rugby Players Association says none of the squad who toured the northern hemisphere last November will be available for the tournament as it falls within their mandatory 12-week stand-down period.

Organisers Duco Events insist some All Blacks tourists had been included in provisional New Zealand squads, including contracted ambassadors such as Dagg.

The company says those players had shown a "strong desire" to compete at the tournament so were selected.

Boyd, who is yet to finalise a squad, is unaware of any of his All Blacks tourists being available, although he admits he has had limited contact with them on their off-season break.

"We have a pretty tight relationship and understanding with New Zealand Rugby," he said.

"Under the players' collective, that's inside their mandatory stand-down period so I never included any of those guys in my calculations."

Two non-playing members of the All Blacks tour group are available for the Tens. Uncapped utility back Jordie Barrett travelled on an apprentice basis while utility forward Vaea Fifita was injury cover early in the tour.

Capped outside backs Nehe Milner-Skudder (injury) and Cory Jane (non-selection) didn't tour last November so are available for Brisbane.

Boyd says the 12-week stand-down is invaluable for leading All Blacks such as Hurricanes Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett and brothers Ardie and Julian Savea.

"It's really vital. They endure a big load and, obviously, with the British and Irish Lions coming as well, that puts a pretty big emphasis on the June break this year."

Boyd will take a squad of up to 26 to the tournament and admits he hasn't thought much about preparing for it.

He was loath to criticise its place in a packed calendar.

"You have to accept that there is a bigger picture thing here around promoting the game," he said.

"Potentially Tens is an exciting concept and I hope it gets well supported in Australia.

"My understanding is that most teams are going there to play seriously. We'll have a pretty handy squad and get around to some Tens training at some stage."

All 10 Australian and NZ Super Rugby franchises will contest the tournament, plus French club Toulon, Japanese outfit Panasonic Wild Knights, South Africa's Blue Bulls and the Samoan national team.

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