New Zealand tours have never been easy, but when England visit the Land of the Long White Cloud this summer they are likely to find things exponentially tougher.
The All Blacks have installed a formidable coaching triumvirate, with Steve Hansen, the Wales coach, and Wayne Smith assisting Graham Henry, the possessor of a serious coaching brain.
Hansen, Henry's successor as Wales coach and a disciple of the former New Zealand schoolmaster, took Wales to the World Cup quarter-finals and saw them make a bright start to the Six Nations' Championship on Saturday, while Smith, a former All Black coach himself, has been hauling Northampton back on course in Europe and in the Zurich Premiership.
Smith's successor at Franklin's Gardens will be the Ulster coach, Alan Solomons, a South African whose appointment was also announced yesterday.
Wales, meanwhile, expect Robin McBryde, Robert Sidoli, Alix Popham and Craig Morgan to return to training today. A decision on Colin Charvis, who dislocated a finger against Scotland, will be made later, while Gareth Williams will have a further scan on his shoulder today.
France's fly-half, Frédéric Michalak, may miss the home match against Italy on Saturday with a chest injury.Reuse content