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All Blacks look to processes, not outcomes

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Lynn McConnell     23 Jun 2017     Getty Images

Read, who has recovered from a broken thumb just in time to play the Test, said he was confident he could handle 80 minutes of Test rugby and had been in full contact since the team assembled ahead of the Samoa Test.

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There was something of the unknown but he was feeling good and he said his body was 'in good nick'.

"I'm really pumped for the Test match, I can't wait to get into it," he said.

"This week I haven't had to worry about the thumb and it has been a week as normal."

So far as prospective issues in the game were concerned he said the Lions' penchant for slowing the All Blacks' ball down was the way the game was played. But he felt whoever controlled the set-piece and the breakdown would go a long way towards winning the game.

"It's something we'll be aware of but we'll be looking to see what we can do ourselves to try and quicken that ball up, and certainly look to slow their ball down and don't give them opportunities to launch from," he said.

The Test was one of the more massive games of his 98-Test career, he said. The series had been billed as big and both teams were at the point were they were each rearing to go.

"I can't wait for the challenge. The whole history of the Lions isn't lost on us as All Blacks. We love the opportunity. There's only a certain number who get to play in this part of our career, it's an awesome opportunity for us and I can't wait to get into it," he said.
The game would come down to doing the simple things well and playing at the right end of the field while their set-piece was also crucial and that involved making sure their lineout was 'spot-on' and scrumming well, which was what rugby was about, he said.

The Lions had picked a form team for the Test and it was unfortunate that injuries had denied tour captain Sam Warburton the chance to lead the side out but he would make an impact off the bench, Read said.

The Lions were good players from across their four countries, in their own right, and they had their own style but he said the Test match result came down to the team that was prepared to put its bodies on the line for the longest.

"It may take 80 minutes or plus, from our point of view we're happy to go there if it ends up at that point," he said.

Losing wasn't something the All Blacks liked but Read said: "We're just prepared to go our there and play our game. Our perspective is the challenge. We know it's going to be a massive challenge and this group of All Blacks wants to go out there and take that on head-on and embrace it.

"If you're worried about results and what could happen then your mind is off the job," he said.

There was an expectation from New Zealanders that the All Blacks would win, that never changed, but all the side could do was get their preparation right and turn up with the right mindset on Saturday.

The focus wasn't so much on winning as on the team getting better, he said. There was a high motivation to win a Lions Test series but if the team focused on the outcome they were likely to slip-up.

"Our focus is really on tomorrow night, our preparation has gone into that so we will look forward to that game. We know what the challenge is going to be, it's going to be massive so I can't wait for it," he said.