Warren Gatland vents frustrations over All Blacks' resting policy

Chiefs coach Warren Gatland has vented his frustrations over the All Blacks' player resting policy for the new Super Rugby season.

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The Chiefs coach's first team selection has been hampered. Source: 1 NEWS

The policy has played havoc with Gatland's selections for Friday's Super Rugby opener against the Blues.

With the All Blacks allowed to play no more than 180 minutes across the first three Super Rugby matches, Gatland's side bears a fresh-faced look, with the likes of Anton Lienert-Brown, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao and Brad Weber on the bench.

Speaking to media in Hamilton though, Gatland concedes that some of his more questionable selections are due to the All Blacks' rest policy, rather than his own planning.

"We understand that the All Blacks [are] coming back in to the start of the season, their playing time has to be managed with 40-60-80 minutes," Gatland said.

"[We're] trying to get the balance between bringing those guys in [and] trying to pick a strong team to face what's going to be a strong team to face what's going to be a tough game in Auckland."

With the likes of starters Sam Cane and Damian McKenzie given clear instruction to how long they can play for on Friday, Gatland opened up about the pressure that places on the other members of his squad.

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"You've got to have a different mindset when you're told that, when you're bringing players back, they can only play 40 minutes.

"You've got to manage the players who are fit, and the players you know have to go 80 minutes.

"That puts a bit of pressure on the squad, there's half a dozen players in there who aren't going to be playing 80 minutes, then you've got to make those replacements and then hopefully you don't pick up any genuine injuries that puts you under pressure to change the planning that you have."

The All Blacks' resting orders leaves Gatland with the difficult task of introducing his best players slowly into a season that's competitive from the opening minute.

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"How do you bring the All Blacks back into the start of the season? They have to be away from this environment in bye weeks, and they have to be away for two other weeks during the year.

"You've got to try and get them up and running with 40 minutes, then 60 minutes, then 80 minutes pretty early in the competition, which means it puts a bit of pressure on other players in the squad.

"Unfortunately, it means you're managing and rotating players in the squad for the first three-four weeks of the campaign so everyone's on the same page.

"Then we can start planning for later in the year."