All Blacks still building to peak

Getty Images     10 Sep 2013     Getty Images

That was assistant coach Ian Foster's summation of how the side was tracking ahead of the biggest game of the season against South Africa, at Eden Park, on Saturday.

"Our error count was too big last week but the desire to play was great and probably the wisdom of how to use the ball wasn't quite there so it's our decision-making about the ball that we get that is probably the key," he said.

Foster said the selectors were in a great position over their choice for the blindside flanker's role.

Liam Messam was recovered and ready for action.

"Steve [Luatua] as come on in leaps and bounds from his first start and sort of added a little bit to his game each week which we were delighted with and clearly Liam is well rested with his hamstring ready to go and again we want to see how he goes through the next couple of days," he said.

It was a great position to be in. While Messam was coming back from injury without a lot of game time, he was battle-hardened warrior for the All Blacks while Luatua was thriving on his opportunities with three Tests behind him.

Foster said captain Richie McCaw's absence would not affect the way the side was selected for the Test.

It wasn't something the team focused on as the team prepared as a squad and the person was selected to do a job.

"That's a mentality and that just means everyone focuses on their own role. Clearly, if you lose Richie there is a pretty big hole there, we've got faith in whoever we put out there and this is quiet determination, particularly from the other senior players, to make sure they lift a couple of degrees as well," he said.