All Blacks conscious of need for focus ahead of last Test

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Lynn McConnell     21 Nov 2016     Getty Images

Hooker Dane Coles said in those moments when the mind drifted to summer holiday activities at home it was a case of switching back onto the task at hand.


It required the 'one place, one mind' type of mindset because they wanted to finish the tour with a performance to be proud of, he said.

"We know it's a bit of a trap that last game on tour but we've talked about that and it's about us leading every day and making sure we stay in France and not New Zealand on a beach somewhere," he said.

The high penalty count and the high tackles committed in the two Irish Tests were something the side would need to work on as the All Blacks couldn't afford to be hit hard by penalties in the future.

It wasn't a case of going out with intent to injure, he said, they tended to be a reaction in the moment and there was no malice concerned. The All Blacks did play hard but their approach was not that of barbarians as had been quoted in some media.

"We can't control what other people say, all we can control is our performance and the way we play rugby and if people don't like that then obviously you can't please everyone.

"We take a lot of pride in playing the game in the right way and in our performance," Coles said.
After the All Blacks arrived in Paris coach Steve Hansen spoke about the citings of Sam Cane and Malakai Fekitoa for dangerous tackles. He said they would defend Sam Cane's tackle because they believed it was a head clash but they understood why it had been cited. Malakai Fekitoa's tackle was high, and clumsy.

He said the high tackle on Beauden Barrett when he scored his try had not been cited.

The hearing will be held in London on Monday, and Hansen hopes to attend as he was also to be at a conference of the head coaches from around the world on the same day. He was hopeful of being able to attend both.

Aaron Cruden said when got on the field in Dublin the side had been calm and clear in what they wanted to do.

The All Blacks execution had not been as accurate as they wanted, especially during the later stages while their discipline issues were something they knew they could tidy up because it was something they could control, he said.

That was important in allowing them to play the type of rugby they know they were capable of playing.

The interaction with the Ireland team after the game had been good, there was no bad blood and they had appreciated, as had the All Blacks, that there would be some sore bodies after the game because both sides had put everything into it, Cruden said.

Coles said he was feeling 'pretty knackered' and it was a common theme through the side.

"We did a lot of defending and I think that took it out of the boys. We've got a couple of days to recover and we'll be back into it again," he said.

The tackle count required of the All Blacks had been 'outrageous', Coles said, but they had to be made and it showed the character of the side that the outcome meant something to them.

"It would have been nice to have had the ball a bit more and to build more pressure. We made enough breaks but unfortunately we just couldn't hold onto the pill. Two yellow cards but the boys stuck up and got into them, it was a good attitude shift," he said.

Ireland had showed in the two Tests that they were one of the best sides in the world and the All Blacks had to work very hard for their victory. They had tipped the All Blacks up in the first one. They were a side on the rise and played with a lot of confidence and passion, he said.