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All Blacks aware of Wallabies lineout confidence

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Lynn McConnell     16 Aug 2017     Getty Images

Ahead of Saturday's Investec Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney, Whitelock acknowledged Coleman had shown his competitiveness last season.

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"Both of those guys have been really physical with the way they carry the ball around the breakdown. They've been aggressive.

"That's how they're going to play and we've got to make sue as a team we're ready for that and we have a plan," he said.

Coleman has already laid down a gauntlet by saying the Wallabies believed they had the ability to end 14 years without the Bledisloe Cup by beating the All Blacks this year.

Whitelock said there had been no problem making the adjustment to Test rugby again after four weeks of Super Rugby play in which time his Crusaders side secured their eighth, and his first, title.

Getting back into camp with the players last week in Auckland had got them focused on the Bledisloe Cup game straight away.

Teammate and flanker Jerome Kaino was on the opposite end of the scale with none of the playoffs involvement but had put in plenty of training and welcomed the 80 minutes of action he got in the game of three halves in Pukekohe on Friday.
Whitelock said there were two ways of looking at the amount of time the Wallabies had been able to spend together ahead of the Test. Most of the All Blacks had been together for a long time and knew each other well, and nine times out of 10 that made the transition back to the All Blacks a smooth one.

Kaino said complacency was never a factor for the side because they had good people around them who kept them focused and they worked by the adage that 'success is a bad teacher' and with that in mind it didn't matter how long they had held the trophy, there was always the chance that if you didn't prepare as well as you could then you could be tripped up.

"Complacency isn't a problem for us. We know how long they have been in camp and how hard the challenge is going to be for us," he said.

The on-going rivalry with Australia was healthy and a factor in preparing for the game and the competitiveness was highlighted as a result of the All Blacks having held the Cup since 2003.

"They'll be really desperate to get their hands on the trophy and we're the same, regardless of how many years we've had it, we'll still got the same desperation to hold onto it as tight as we can. We'll do whatever it takes to keep that in New Zealand," he said.

There wasn't a fear of losing the Cup, it was more about the All Blacks making sure they hit the standards they set by preparing as well as they could to put in the performance they wanted, he said.