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Motivation not lacking for All Blacks

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Lynn McConnell     04 Oct 2016     Getty Images

Lock Brodie Retallick said the side had not really managed a complete 80-minute performance during the year and achieving that was a challenge in itself.

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At times there had been arm wrestles involved in some of their game and at the weekend against Argentina they had probably let it slip and they felt that so they had plenty to play for against South Africa.

He expected South Africa would take confidence from their win over Australia and would be looking to use that high to pressure the All Blacks.

The lineout contests with South Africa were always a good test of where the All Blacks were at in that part of the game.

It didn't matter who South Africa put in the positions, they had speed and their timing was always good, he said.

"Like each week it is going to be a great contest, especially against South Africa and we always know it is going to be tough."

Retallick said it was a nice change to be playing at sea level and that would allow their recovery to be a little quicker. It had also been good to see flanker Jerome Kaino waiting for them in Durban and it was good having him back in the squad.
Kaino was an important contributor to the side, not only on the field but off. He kept an eye on standards and some control of the All Blacks' team environment and made sure that no-one was slipping and he had a huge calmness and was respected by everyone.

He said fellow lock Patrick Tuipulotu enjoyed a great outing in Buenos Aires and had been physical in defence and had carried the ball well to make some line breaks.

"It's been a long time since he played 80 minutes and he did extremely well to do it, and he did it very well," he said.

Retallick said as well as equalling the record of successive Test wins by tier one nations, another motivating factor for the side was showing that they could beat opponents at home and away and that was their goal with South Africa at the weekend.

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Fullback Ben Smith said Test wins record was a motivation but they were aware they still had to get their processes right to get into position to achieve that goal. It was something that later in their lives they could look back on with satisfaction if they achieved it, he said.

The team was looking forward to playing in Durban after many of their recent Tests in South Africa had been played at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. They knew they had to get their work in during the first few days of the week to give themselves every chance at the weekend, he said.

In a short week it was important to get recovery sorted early, to get bodies right and to get into the normal pattern.

"I think they [Argentina] put us under a lot of pressure in that second half and it was probably more for the big boys. They had a few scrums there and put us under a bit of pressure there.

"We know how big the challenge is to play in Argentina and South Africa and we have looked forward to that challenge, we've been in Argentina and now in South Africa and doing this job. That is what excites the team, the challenge of playing the Springboks in South Africa is a huge one and it's one they'll be really ready for," he said.