All Blacks have specific goals in Sydney Test

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Lynn McConnell     16 Aug 2017     Getty Images

Assistant coach Ian Foster said for a team that had developed a winning ability to not only create chances but also to convert them into points, the All Blacks had suffered a setback against the British & Irish Lions when not converting opportunities.

"At Test match level, it doesn't matter who you are, you have got to make sure that if you have got a team on the ropes that you take advantage of it and we weren't as good as we needed to be," he said.

They had got it right in the first Test and adapted for large spells in the second Test when down to 14 men, he said.

There had been some good lessons which was positive and while they didn't like a drawn series it had tightened the side up and they had gone back and got a true picture of where they were at and that showed they were not quite where they wanted to be.

"That's why I've said this is a massive game for us in Sydney. For us it's a big chance to start getting the game back where we want it to be," he said.

All the signs were that the Australians were pretty motivated and were wanting to go out on Saturday and do their country proud, Foster said.

They had endured a tough 2016 and had introduced several new players and were going through a transition period about how they play and who is on the park.

New Zealand had been in the same place when building for the future so knew what the Australians were feeling. They would have a plan and the All Blacks' job was to ensure they followed their own plan.

Preparing for the Test had been important because three New Zealand sides had travelled to South Africa during the Super Rugby playoffs, there were factors to consider from the Lions series, and workload matters and the quick turnaround between competitions meant taking care in assessing players.

"We've been looking a lot at the physical energy, but also the mental energy you need to come over here and play well at Sydney.

"We know we are going to have to match, if not better, a hunger level the Australians are going to bring to the park on Saturday so we're after athletes that are really determined and fresh, mentally and physically," he said.

The Crusaders players had been rested during the game of three halves in Pukekohe but Foster said there was nothing like charging a player up by seeing someone playing in his position and that made their revitalisation much quicker.

Foster said Crusaders captain and lock Sam Whitelock had shown he was mentally durable in producing a series of consistent performances at the highest level.

"He doesn't get flustered and not a lot of things take his eyes off what his next job is. I think that is probably his greatest strength. He is good at what he does with his roles but the fact he can stay focused for long periods of a game is probably the key," he said.

Foster said Sonny Bill Williams was rearing to go after his four-game suspension. It had been a tough time for him but he had used the time effectively and had trained well and had also got over a couple of niggles that he had.