Defensive approach vital for All Blacks

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Lynn McConnell     13 Aug 2014     Getty Images

First five-eighths Beauden Barrett said in Auckland on Tuesday that knowing the attacking ability the Australians would have demanded attention to defensive strategies.

And with their kicking game needing to be precise there was plenty of emphasis on understanding the field options the Australians were likely to present.

"The kicking game will be huge," he said.

Barrett said he was expecting a mixture of the styles seen in Super Rugby to be replicated by the Australians in Saturday's Test.

"I think a mix between maybe the Brumbies, the way they use their forwards and perhaps the Waratahs backline, a lot of similarities there with mainly Bernard Foley and guys like that, good ball players at the line looking to threaten around our ruck, perhaps," he said.

Barrett is in the position of never having played in a losing All Blacks side in his 19 Test matches, but for all that he doesn't mention it too much and is happy to keep it in the background. He said he was proud of the fact but didn't reflect on it too much.

While he has made his contribution off the bench most often he said he always prepared as if he was starting a game because there was always the chance of a mishap before taking the field.

"We all have to prepare as if starting. That way we know the game plan inside out and are ready to go on in the first minute or the last minute," he said.

Barrett said it was only natural to want to start but it was a case of being able to make an impact when getting on the field and that meant controlling the inclination to try a little hard.

The key thing was to concentrate on your job and not try to do too much.

There was plenty of excitement in the All Black camp but Barrett said he was looking forward to getting to Sydney on Thursday and seeing the sea of gold that Australian supporters will be wearing.

Australians would be buoyed by the success the Waratahs and Brumbies had in Super Rugby and would go into the game high on confidence but for the All Blacks it was just a case of building slowly and preparing as best as possible to meet the Australian threat, he said.