Coles, Taylor ready for hooking contest with Rory Best

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Lynn McConnell     31 Oct 2016     Getty Images

Coles has played Best before while it will be a new experience for Taylor. Coles said the Irishman had an 'outrageous work rate'.

"I've got a lot of respect for the guy, I've always wanted to play against him and I'm really looking forward, if I get the chance, to have that battle because he's a world-class hooker," he said.


Coles said not having played Ireland since 2013 there was some extra work for the side in the pre-match preparation with a lot of video work to get an idea of what might be coming when the sides meet on Sunday (NZT) in Chicago.

Coles said the introduction of two new locks in Scott Barrett and Vaea Fifita was a case of bringing them up to speed as quickly as possible and putting trust in their abilities to do what was asked of them. Both Patrick Tuipulotu and Luke Romano had been around the team environment long enough to also play a role in that.

It was a good chance for Romano and Tuipulotu to put their hands up and take advantage of the absence of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock.

Fellow hooker Codie Taylor, who is part of the Crusaders side, said Whitelock set the standard for the locks with the work he put in and that had been reflected by Romano and Barrett.

"He's [Whitelock] always working on his lineout jumping, the same with Lukey. You can't take anything away from them they are two great options to have and that's on the back of the standard that Sam sets. It pushes the other boys to set their standards as high and to work on that as well," he said.

Coles said touring as an All Black was always something enjoyable. It helped if the side was winning, but enjoying each others' company was crucial because four weeks together was a long time and you didn't want to have the boxing gloves out in the last week because you were sick of each other.

"It's making sure we work hard to perform but also getting to know our mates, especially the new guys," he said.

Touring was a case of getting the balance right so that the off-field experience didn't affect the rugby you played.

Taylor said he had the experience last year of the World Cup, which was a different type of tour, but he believed the need for balance was important because you didn't want to burn yourself out with rugby.

It was the same story, he said, of putting the effort in during the week of a match and getting all the little things right to contribute to the weekend performance.

There were distractions but having prepared for the differences ahead of the tour was important, he said.

They knew American culture was different to New Zealand's and it would be the same next week when they moved to Italy which was different again. But in the midst of all the differences, maintaining the preparation was vital.

Taylor said he had learnt plenty being in the All Blacks environment this year and from Coles especially.

"He's helped me heaps with my set-piece work. Lineout throwing is obviously important for us and scrum time – we're always butting heads and that and learning new things about each other. I've watched him play since I was a young fellow, he's from the same area as me which is pretty inspiring. He's one to help you out, he's not going to stand off and not share what he knows which is a good thing about this environment."