There is going to be a very different sense of ying and yang about the All Blacks' week in Milan.

This is a city that has not been swept up and charmed in the arms of the All Blacks. There is precious little evidence that the city is even aware the world's best known rugby team are here.

There are no billboards promoting the game as there were throughout Cardiff. There has been only a tiny media awareness of the test - the football-mad daily sports paper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, did puff the All Blacks on the front of Thursday's edition but that was only because they are playing at the home stadium of footballing giants AC Milano and Internazionale. The piece read like - we don't really know who these blokes are but we better find out saying as they have managed to sell out the San Siro.

And let's face it - the media who swarmed to the swanky Grani & Baci restaurant on Wednesday night were not lured there by the All Blacks. The presence of the TV show Italy's Next top Model might have had something to do with it.

The usual stage-managed adidas promotional events have drawn the crowds but again, the presence of some big name Italian footballers helped as did a morning off school for the few hundred teenagers who came to training on Wednesday morning.

The All Blacks have been made welcome. They have been appreciated by those they have met. It's just that Milan has little rugby heritage.

The city loves its football and its two clubs and with a population in the wider metropolitan area of 4.3 million, it's been easy for the All Blacks to be anonymous this week.

That, however, will all change on Saturday when they play at the San Siro - one of the world's biggest and best stadiums.

The contrast will be extreme. Come the test, the All Blacks will feel that every person in Italy knows they are here. There will be a cauldron of noise. The Italians are not the sort to sit politely and golf clap. They are an emotional people and will sing, shout and cry if needs be.

So from being barely noticed during the week; from being led to believe no one knows they are here, the All Blacks will suddenly feel very much the centre of attention.

And that will test what is an inexperienced side. The buffs will be able to say exactly when it was the All Blacks last fielded a backline that contained three debutants. A good guess at the moment is that it would be 1986, when Greg Cooper, Terry Wright, Joe Stanley and Frano Botica all made debuts for the Baby Blacks against France in Christchurch.

Whatever the right answer, there is no disputing that this All Black side is vulnerable. There could be no tougher stadium to make a debut...

It also has to be acknowledged that the Italians are a team that love to frustrate. They have obvious weaknesses out wide, but upfront they know what they are doing. Their set-piece is handy and they are expert at slowing the ball down, of frustrating opponents with their power in cohesion at the maul.

Italy also know how to play for territory and they will test the patience of the All Blacks. They will leave Milan confused about the different intensities of the on and off field experiences.

Just as long as they don't leave confused about the result.

- HERALD ON SUNDAY