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Shorter week makes All Blacks focus on preparation

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Lynn McConnell     05 Oct 2016     Getty Images

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles said he was still feeling the effects of the travel on Tuesday but was getting better.

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"We don't usually get too many weeks like this. It is a bit truncated and a good challenge for this group. It's probably more mental prep because we don't have too much time on the field," he said.

Coles said in discussion the All Blacks realised they had made the second half against Argentina 'hard yakka' because of their indiscipline and they had to deal with that and avoid giving away silly penalties and having players go to the sin-bin because it took a lot out of the side and it could be costly.

That had meant attention needed to be paid to the set-piece in preparation for the challenge South Africa would bring with their good scrum and their lineout and drive.

The All Blacks overall were happy with how their set-piece was going but there was always room for improvement and suffering a pushover scrum try when down to seven men by Argentina was a constant reminder of that.
Coles said, "I love playing against the Boks because it is one of the best Test matches in the world to play in. There is definitely huge potential [in their side] and they showed that at the weekend by beating Australia.

"All the Test matches we have played here over the last four or five years have been some of the best Tests ever played so we are expecting to having to take yourself to that limit of preparation and mindset. I'm really looking forward to playing in Durban. It's a pretty hostile crowd and a great stadium to play at as well," he said.

Coles said it was good to have Jerome Kaino back because he carried so much mana within the side and while it was good that Liam Squire and Elliot Dixon got time against Argentina, Kaino brought a lot of experience and physicality to the side.

He also noted Adriaan Strauss' man of the match performance against Australia last weekend.

"He's one of the world's best hookers and as captain has been leading from the front. I thought he played well and made some good runs and his set-piece was very strong.

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"For a hooker to play 80 minutes at Test level is pretty massive, it takes it out of you. For him to play as long as he did…and the best way for your team to improve is for your captain to go out and perform like that so I thought he was awesome," he said.

Wing Julian Savea said with the rain during the week and forecast for match day the All Blacks would prepare as usual and make the adjustments required for the game.

He said the competition within the squad was a factor in the team continuing to do well, and that was down to the preparation during the week as well.

"This week up against the Boks it is not hard to get up for. We know the challenge that this team brings," he said.

There was every chance that the back three would be involved in a lot of work especially if Morne Steyn was playing at first five-eighths and playing the expected kicking game.

"They may hold onto the ball for more phases than not so we definitely know it could be coming and we've just got to prepare," he said.