Hansen backing Ioane to shine

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen believes rookie wing Rieko Ioane will give a good account of himself in Saturday's Test against the Lions in Auckland.

Hansen said Ioane came through as the player who's been in the best form and that got him the left wing berth ahead of Julian Savea and Waisake Naholo and for the first Test he was the preferred option.

"He's a young man we've got a lot of confidence in and he's managed to head off two very good rugby players," Hansen told the All Blacks' official website.

The choice of Ryan Crotty at centre outside Sonny Bill Williams was down to looking to Anton Lienert-Brown to provide a similar effect to what Williams achieved off the bench at the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Hansen said as a challenge the Lions series was up with the Rugby World Cup.

"You can feel the enthusiasm and the hunger in the hotel with the players," added Hansen.

"They're really up for it, and that doesn't guarantee you to win the thing but it does guarantee that your attitude's right and we know if our attitude's right and we get our clarity right then we're a good side and it means the opposition have to be too.

"They've selected a side that's capable of playing a different type of game than we play and that in itself is intriguing and it is going to be interesting to see the result once it has all be played out."