All Blacks look to repeat Super Rugby intensity

Getty Images

Lynn McConnell     03 Jun 2016     Getty Images

Kaino said on Thursday he always felt the local derbies would produce the quality that has been seen this year.


The desire was in the side to keep lifting the pace of their game while increasing the physicality of play and knitting the form shown in the franchises would be part of that.

Lock Sam Whitelock, who is under an injury cloud due to a hamstring injury, said the comparison between such hard derbies and Test matches was a little difficult.

The thing with the derbies, he said, was that you knew more about the players you were playing against just as they knew your play.

"It does get to that Test match level at times, that intensity, the speed of the game but Test match rugby is definitely a step up again so it is going to be really interesting to see how the team deals with that," he said.

Kaino said the side wouldn't be looking over the shoulders regarding the loss of so much experience to the side.

"We don't really want to look back and keep missing the guys that used to be there otherwise we'll be always trying to fill holes that they left. We want to create paths for ourselves and be our own men in those areas," he said.

It was a case of starting where they finished last year and keep looking up, instead of looking back all the time and thinking about what would the missing players would do.

Looking at the Welsh loosies he felt No.8 Toby Faletau was one of the most damaging ball carriers in world rugby while Sam Warburton did a lot of the hidden work.

"He works hard as the skipper and he's also a strength of their side. But they've got a lot of other loose forwards. We've got our work cut out in the loose forwards but it's a good challenge for us and we've got three Tests to try and figure them out," he said.

Whitelock said his hamstring recovery, the first he has had to endure, was a day-by-day process and while he had been able to do some light work he was not at full stretch.

"I would love to be out there but I just have to do the best thing for the team. If I'm ready and selected I'm out there but if I'm not then you're preparing the team so they can be prepared for that first Test match," he said.

Kaino said he preferred the preparation method they had been able to have this year. Having a full week to lay out the plan around how they wanted to play was good as they could concentrate more on their preparation next week.

The previous system with brief camps worked between Super Rugby preparations had been disjointed and that made it difficult, especially when you were trying to introduce new players to systems, he said.

"I've really enjoyed this week and I think it's been good for us," he said.

It had been good to get to know a lot of the new players.

"Obviously you see them on the pitch and how they play but getting to know them personally this week has been awesome. A lot of their personalities fit right into the environment," he said.

"The intensity of the things we do here is a lot different to the franchises and I think they've noticed that and I think that's good for the team and the new guys coming in."

Kaino said he fed off the enthusiasm the newer players brought to the side, especially those in line to challenge for his position.

"The skill sets they bring I don't have them and at training I try to add them to my arsenal. They love playing out wide and have got a lot of speed that I used to have. It's just an on-going improvement process," Kaino said while acknowledging that having some tricks of the trade gained through experience was useful.

"You try and add a lot of what they have to your game and hopefully that levels out the playing field a bit," he said.

Kaino said when he came out of games unscathed it gave him confidence and the last few games had seen getting to where he felt he needed to be but it wasn't where he wanted to be yet.