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Australia will be stronger in Championship - Kaino

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Lynn McConnell     15 Aug 2016     Getty Images

Ahead of Saturday's Championship opener in Sydney, Kaino said the players returning from overseas would bolster the Australian side. And after their loss in last year's Rugby World Cup final they would have plenty of ambition this year.

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"If you look at their team, a lot of them did play in that final so I think they'll use a bit of that as motivation," he said.

"A lot of them have been together for four or so weeks now so they'll be firing to get into us and using the World Cup and also last year's Rugby Championship as motivation.

"They've got a lot of experience there [in the loose forwards] so it's going to be tough. Anyone in their loose forwards, they've got Sean McMahon who's a huge threat as well, so any of the players they throw in there they're going to be a major threat for us.

"But all across the park they've got good players and a lot of experience so we'll be preparing accordingly.

Kaino wasn't expecting anything untoward from the Australian approach to the game, the first of three as they try to regain the Bledisloe Cup.

"The Aussies aren't usually that niggly but [it's] a first-up Test match, and when you're playing for the Bledisloe Cup anything can happen, so we'll be preparing and getting our attitudes right for that - first things first and preparing for Test match intensity," he said.

Team-mate and halfback Aaron Smith said he would be looking to have a pinpoint kicking game to nullify the attacking danger of Australian fullback Israel Folau.

"Kicks from me are more about hoping it's a contestable kind of kick. I guess if I get the kick wrong he has time to get a good little run-up on but I hopefully back myself to put it near the mark most of the time. 

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"One positive is if he is catching the ball he can't run so if we don't win the contact at least [we] put him on the ground then he's not a threat out wide.

"We'll find out our plans in the next few days about how to nullify him but guys like him you can't nullify – it's about limiting the opportunities he has.

"For me it's about putting the kicks on the money so at least it gives our wingers a chance to get in there and bang bodies, or get the ball back.

"We all know he can jump pretty high but anything can happen when you know someone is running at you as well. It's an awesome thing watching two guys go for the ball. I know when I hit a kick good I get excited about what happens next," he said.

Smith, who as part of the Highlanders side endured a horrific last month of world travel in Super Rugby, said it was refreshing after that campaign to get his head around the All Blacks game again.

After missing out in the play-offs he was wanting something fresh and positive to get him happy again.

"I was really excited about coming in here [the All Blacks team] and there's no better challenge than Australia in Australia.

"I look at that as a real challenge that excites me and the last couple of weeks thinking about that has been really cool. There's nothing like Test match footy, you can't beat it," he said.