Steve Hansen says World Cup selection easier in some areas, but headaches persist

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Hansen said some "question marks" were erased in the 36-0 win but there's competition and decisions to be made elsewhere. Source: 1 NEWS

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Saturday's emphatic win over the Wallabies has helped him with Rugby World Cup selections in some areas, but there's still a few headaches to address.

Hansen made three big changes to the squad for Saturday's Bledisloe decider, bringing in rookie wingers Sevu Reece and George Bridge and tighthead Nepo Laulala for experienced trio Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane and Owen Franks.

Reece and Bridge in particular had impressive performances as the improved All Blacks side shook off the 47-26 loss in Perth the week prior to record a 36-0 win at Eden Park.

Hansen said the performances helped selections in some ways.

"In some ways it makes it easier because some guys put their hand up last night and where we had quesiton marks, we no longer have question marks," Hansen said.

"But in other ways, it makes it a bit tougher too. Every time you name a team somebody misses out and it ends their dream and this is a big one - it's the World Cup."

When asked which areas were still hotly contested, Hansen admitted there were a few.

"Tighthead has been a big competition, midfield has been a big competition. Do we take an extra [blindside flanker] or an extra lock?

"Those have been the toughest ones."

Hansen has to cut three players from his Bledisloe Cup squad for the World Cup but that squad currently doesn't feature injued All Blacks Brodie Retallick and Ryan Crotty - if either are selected it means others currently in the team will miss out to make room.

Some players have one last chance to push their case to Hansen this week after nine All Blacks were released to play in the Mitre 10 Cup last night.

The All Blacks' World Cup squad is named next Wednesday.