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All Blacks wary of French World Cup memories

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Lynn McConnell     22 Nov 2016     Getty Images

Lock Brodie Retallick said if the shoe was on the other foot the All Blacks would still be hurting because you couldn't forget that quickly so he imagined France would be feeling it.

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"Obviously playing in France they would like to upset the All Blacks again, they always do, and I've got no doubt it is probably in the back of their minds and it will be something they touch on this week," he said.

All All Blacks were conscious of the French ability to take games apart, especially against New Zealand, with the 2007 quarter-final still a recent memory for many.

"There's no way we can cut any corners this week…it's another important week this week," he said.

Retallick said the win in Dublin had shown the side's capacity to make a lot of tackles and that their defensive system was good.

"To make that many tackles and to get off the line the way we did showed good character and that we were working hard for each other. We've just had our review and we want to find ways we can play some attacking rugby and to hold the ball. That's something we'll be looking to do this weekend," he said.
Before the Test captain Kieran Read said the game could be a defining Test in the side's development and Retallick agreed that it was one of the tougher Tests of the year and the side had taken a lot of confidence from their performance.

Speaking about the high penalty count Retallick said inevitably there were going to be penalties in games but the lower the number the better and if it was possible it would be ideal to concede none. He said if 10 penalties were conceded, and they were within goal-kicking range that was potentially 30 points for the opposition.

Retallick said it was a 'real challenge' to retain focus ahead of the last game of the season, and a tour. It was the same for teams coming to New Zealand. Coming to the end of a tour it was easy to start thinking about hopping on a plane to go home and what was going to happen over the summer break.

But the All Blacks had learned on previous tours that they needed to keep their mind on the job and to focus on the French and to pay them the respect they deserved.

"The summer will be a lot more enjoyable getting on the plane with a win than heading home with a loss," he said.

Retallick said while it had been a tough Test against Ireland he was feeling better than after some other Mondays after Tests, and he put that down to not playing in Chicago and half a game in Rome.

Scott Barrett said in spite of comments made by coach Steve Hansen about how he had adapted to his inclusion in the side, he had never been so nervous in his life during the first week of the tour.

"Just to play in the game in Chicago was more of a relief to put in the performance. Every week I'm getting a little more comfortable I still feel pretty nervous but I'm enjoying it at the same time though," he said.

With so much information to be absorbed during the first week he felt his brain was in overload and just getting onto the field had helped and the week in Rome had helped.

It had also helped settle his nerves when Hansen told him on the day before the Chicago Test to just go out and play his game.