New Zealand coach Steve Hansen believes the lack of Australian participants in the latter stages of Super 15 could work in the Wallabies' favour during the inaugural Rugby Championship.
With the Stormers, Sharks, Crusaders and Chiefs contesting the semi-finals last week, and the Chiefs hosting the Sharks in Saturday's final, Hansen and South Africa coach Heyneke Myer have had their time with players curtailed. Australia boss Robbie Deans, however, has been able to begin his preparations early as only the Reds made the top six.
"I think it's a big advantage to them (Australia)," said Hansen, who will hold a two-day wider training group camp, excluding Chiefs players, in Wellington this week. "The more preparation time you have the better chance you have of getting your game organised and your structures built in and the clarity."
He added: "We were very fortunate that we managed to, in a very short period of time, get that sorted against Ireland.
"But the Rugby Championship is going to be a totally different contest.
"We're playing two of the top-ranked sides in the world and then you've got Argentina on top of that. The more preparation time you can get the better I think."
Deans will assemble a 36-strong squad in Sydney this week for the second of two training camps ahead of the Bledisloe Cup clashes with New Zealand in Sydney and Auckland next month.
- Steve Hansen