The All Blacks have arrived in Argentina to begin the second and most arduous half of their 2017 international season.
Argentina is the first of seven countries that the All Blacks will play eight games in, six of them tests, over the next nine week period.
It's a challenging time of year for the All Blacks and assistant coach Ian Foster admitted earlier this month they haven't always got the balance right, but continue to work hard on keeping players fresh physically and mentally through to the end of November.
Tonight there were more police than fans at Ministro Pistarini International Airport when the team touched down. The police provided a typically exuberant though highly efficient escort of the team bus to their hotel in the heart of the city; a mix of sirens, gesticulation and skilled motorcycle riding cutting clean path through Friday night rush hour traffic.
There was a good group of fans, camera phones at the ready, waiting for the All Blacks arrival.
The New Zealand selectors have told Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Liam Squire and Ryan Crotty to park up for the week, rest, recover, recondition and then rejoin the squad in South Africa. Beauden Barrett was a late inclusion to the squad, after Lima Sopoaga withdrew to be at the birth of his daughter this morning.
All Blacks schedule:
1 October: Argentina v All Blacks, Buenos Aires,
21 October: Australia v All Blacks, Brisbane
05 Nov: All Blacks v Barbarians, London
12 Nov: All Blacks v France, Paris
15 Nov: All Blacks v French XV, Lyon
19 Nov: All Blacks v Scotland, Edinburgh
26 Nov: All Blacks v Wales, Cardiff
NIGEL YALDEN IS ON TOUR WITH THE ALL BLACKS THANKS TO AIR NEW ZEALAND