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All Blacks confident in Test newcomers

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Lynn McConnell     07 Jul 2017     Getty Images

Debut starting fullback Jordie Barrett said he was looking forward to 'getting stuck in' on Saturday night.

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It would be game as normal so far as he was concerned, doing his job and controlling all that was sent his way by the Lions.

Having fellow Hurricanes in the backline with brother Beauden, the recalled Julian Savea and second five-eighths Ngani Laumape was a help but the squad had been working well all campaign and had become familiar with each other.

"We've got confidence in each other and we've got trust in each other to do our jobs so there's a good feeling," he said.

He said as a young player he had drawn inspiration from what his older brother had been able to achieve without ever thinking they might end up playing for New Zealand in the same side.

He and his team-mates at Francis Douglas Memorial College looked to not only Beauden Barrett but also Conrad Smith, as old boys of their school, for inspiration.

Beauden Barrett said he hadn't offered Jordie any advice. He had been working in the outside backs group and they had been going well in their preparation.

"You don't want to put too much in the young fellow's head, you just want him to go out there and play footy because he's good enough to do that. That's why he's playing this week," he said.
Having younger players involved in such an important game was a demonstration of the selectors faith in them and it was something that excited him, he said.

Referring to skipper Kieran Read's 100th Test, Beauden Barrett said he led by example and was inspirational in his captaincy.

"Not only does he lead by example, he's powerful with his words, gives clear direction to the group and he's a very smart footballer as well so it's good to see him back and at his best.

"He's very clear and calm. He's got a great ability to sum up a situation then make what I think is the right decision on the field at the time. We back each other to make that call and we back each other 100 percent after that," he said.

First five-eighths substitute Aaron Cruden, who is playing his 50th and last Test before heading to France, said the series had been about enjoying every moment of the three Tests.

He said the All Blacks enjoyed the challenge of key games.

"We like to try and stick to our processes and if we are able to do that through crucial moments in crucial games generally that has good results for us. We look back at last weekend and probably in those crucial moments we weren't as clinical or as polished as we normally are so that has certainly been at the forefront of our mind this weekend," he said.

Savea said it had been disappointing to miss out in the first two Tests but his role was to switch on to helping the playing 23 prepare for their games and he was excited to have the chance this weekend.
He was confident, having played with Jordie Barrett this year, that he would handle the job ahead of him because he was a skilful player who read the game especially well.

Prop Charlie Faumuina will also be playing his last game on Eden Park for the All Blacks in his 50th Test and was looking forward to a good result in front of a large crowd as the perfect send-off.

He imagined he would feel similar to walking off after his last game for the Blues after enjoying the game with the All Blacks and hopefully going out on a good note.

Flanker Sam Cane said the battles in the loose had been tight in the first two Tests and it would be the same again this weekend. The Lions were clearly happy with playing two open-side flankers last week which would make the contest interesting again.

"Sean's [O'Brien] a pretty impressive player and we had a bit of a chat after the game on Saturday, he's an awesome bloke. The way he goes about his work is impressive. He's pretty combative. He gets through a heck of a lot and he's a pretty physical player and he's been massive for them this tour I think as he will be again this weekend," he said.