The All Blacks are taking plenty of precautions as they embark on the busiest stretch of their 2017 schedule.

Sunday morning's contest against Argentina in Buenos Aires starts a run of eight games in seven countries over the next nine weeks; a daunting prospect for a side whose standards slipped slightly at this time last season.

Last year, the All Blacks' impressive Rugby Championship performances weren't matched on their overseas tour, losing 40-29 to Ireland in Chicago, and barely scraping by France (24-19) in their final game of the year.

The upcoming schedule is set to take a toll on an already reduced All Blacks squad, with the likes of Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Owen Franks and Joe Moody all long-term absences due to injury, and Ben Smith on a sabbatical.


As a result, the All Blacks have rested several key players for the first game of their travels, to avoid end-of-season fatigue, and have given the squad extra time to acclimatise to Argentina before getting into training tomorrow.

Starting hooker Dane Coles believes recovery is one of the most important aspects of managing the upcoming workload.

"We know the flights and what's coming up, so it's just about looking after yourself the best you can.

"Our trainers have got pretty good systems in place to help that. We know it's coming, it's a bit tough, but I think we do everything we can to make sure we turn up in good shape come game time."

Coles' back-up, Codie Taylor, has had a significant workload this season, playing 825 minutes for the title-winning Crusaders in Super Rugby, and a further 115 in the Rugby Championship to date.

Taylor credits All Blacks strength and conditioning coach Dr Nic Gill for changing up his schedule and giving him the space to re-energise.

"They're really aware of the long season that Super Rugby has and how taxing it can be on your body, but when you come into camp with the All Blacks, Gilly's aware of that so he's either giving you a rest during the week or re-conditioning your programme to suit you and I think that's a good thing.

"You come back here and you feel quite refreshed, because you're doing a new type of programme that you're following in the gym - [it] mentally refreshes you, which plays a big part in getting the body right as well."

All Blacks - Biggest workloads in 2017

1. Damian McKenzie 1666 minutes
2. Ngani Laumape 1423
3. Brodie Retallick 1387
4. Sam Whitelock 1371
5. Beauden Barrett 1354
6. TJ Perenara 1348
7. David Havili 1338
8. Ardie Savea 1275
9. Anton Lienert-Brown 1265
10. Rieko Ioane 1255