AllBlacks enter camp ahead of battle

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James Mortimer     10 Aug 2012     Getty Images

The All Blacks hit the town with promotional activies for the Cure Kids and Red Nose initiative ahead of the first test and other such requirements, but it is now down to business as the World Champions prepare to compete for their first major trophy since winning the big one last year.

The All Blacks will play a match against Counties-Manukau and Auckland tomorrow at Pukekohe, playing two 20-minute quarters, before knuckling down for a test build up against their great rivals.

The Wallabies have already had two 'advantages' according to All Blacks coaches Steve Hansen and Ian Foster, with the green and gold squad in camp longer due to lack of Investec Super Rugby Final's participation, while the former Chiefs mentor feels that with two of the three matches in Australia, the hosts could have the edge.

With the Wallabies having a near two week head start in regard to being assembled ahead of the demanding tournament, the Australians have already begun their preparations in earnest, launching 'The Bledisloe Cup Festival' last week.

The All Blacks host the Wallabies in the return match on August 25, while they will host Argentina for the first time in The Investec Rugby Championship on September 8, a fixture that injured centre Conrad Smith has targeted for his return.

The following week the Springboks will arrive in Dunedin for their first test against the All Blacks of the season.

Wallabies flanker and captain David Pocock said that recent clashes between the sides showed how close the rivalry was.

"I think the last four or so contests have been close," he said.

"It's been about which team has been more accurate. Playing against New Zealand, they're not the sort of team you can give a start to and then come over the top of them at the end."

While the Wallabies have won two of their last four test against the All Blacks, the head to head during New Zealand's nine-year Bledisloe Cup reign sees the ledger standing at 21-6 in the World Champions favour.