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Cane says All Blacks ready for Italy

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Lynn McConnell     12 Nov 2016     Getty Images

When arriving in Rome on Monday he felt it would have been nice to have an extra day but he said with several games this year there had been a similar time frame to prepare and they had a good system in place which had worked well again.

Complementing that was the excitement of several of the less experienced members of the side in being selected for the game.

"Judging by the preparation they are not really leaving any stone unturned because they want to take this opportunity with both hands and it is the same attitude that I am taking so, hopefully, if things go to plan we'll see a good game," he said.

Cane said he had learned plenty when he first led the side, against Namibia, in last year's Rugby World Cup.

"I feel a lot more ready and prepared and a lot more comfortable in my own leadership ability, and style and ability as well, so one of the keys for me will be to draw from others. The best way to use that is to be asking questions, making sure we are all contributing so all the pressure and weight is not on my shoulders.

"I want to play well first and foremost and the rest of it should take care of itself. I've got a few key guys that I will draw on so we can do it together," he said.

Cane said a Test against Italy had been his only game on his first end-of-year tour and he had hardly played rugby for three months and it was also Kieran Read's first time as captain. The crowd noise had also been deafening when Italy scored a try.

"It was an awesome experience so it is cool to be back here in a different position four years on," he said.

The side's defensive approach would also be important, especially in the wake of last week's loss to Ireland. While they All Blacks were different in many areas to that game, the defence would still be important because many of the areas that Ireland had been strong in were strengths in the Italian game.

Cane said he believed the Italian side selected for the game was named with the intention of playing some rugby and that was exciting. The All Blacks knew Italy would challenge them up front, they liked to scrum and they had scored several tries through their driving maul this year.

"We'll be up for a battle up front. They'll try to take us on there but we're also aware that they've got some flair and they do like to play. Under their new coach, we're seeing a lot more offloads and a lot more ball movement," he said.