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All Blacks face different test from Springboks

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Lynn McConnell     15 Sep 2017     Getty Images

The Springboks had some very strong ball carriers and some elusive backs so he was expecting them to use the ball in the wide channels and from deep.

"Traditionally we may not have seen that in the past but we can expect that now," he said.
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Barrett said the All Blacks were not feeling some of the concerns in the wider public that the side hadn't been performing as well as they might.

They were always trying to improve and they were excited about attempting to do that.

"We may not be as proud as we could be with our performances of late but we've learnt a lot from that and are excited about this weekend," he said.

Barrett said he didn't think Argentina had brought a lot of rush defence into the New Plymouth Test at the weekend.

"We allowed them to have that space by being a bit flat at times but certainly I wouldn't call them a rush defence team. We'd probably expect a little bit more from South Africa but we've learnt from the weekend and it can be sometimes a perceived line speed but we're really playing into their hands if we're too flat at the lines so we have ways of dealing with that," he said.

Decisions on coping with that depended on whether the ball being received was fast or slow, whether it was front foot ball or whether the team was going backwards, he said.

When it came to the halfbacks, Barrett said he was confident in all three players in the squad. TJ Perenara had a more physical presence while Aaron Smith had the best pass in the game and was a good organiser, one was a left-footer and one was a right-footer while he said Tawera Kerr-Barlow had his confidence as well.

"What you probably don't see is the chat and competitiveness, day in and day out amongst those three in particular," he said. It was a case of trying to put the hand brake on them.

"I think it's great, it feeds that competitiveness across the whole squad," he said.

Barrett said centre Ryan Crotty had become important to the functioning of the backline.

"When Ryan's there he's obviously a great communicator, a great thinker of the game and organiser so he provides a lot of certainty to the players either side of him and he understands the game really well," he said.

Fullback Damian McKenzie said his main lesson from the outing was keeping focused on the next task at hand. He had put some of the high kicks down but the back three had been working on that this week to ensure they had enough time to take the kicks.

"Obviously South Africa have probably seen that so we are expecting it," he said.

During games it was a case of building on the confidence they had worked on during the week and allowing the on-field decisions to follow.

"It's just giving enough voice in the areas we can control and at fullback it's just making sure I'm talking the whole time and bringing confidence to our backline at the times I can," he said.

Barrett said McKenzie had been chirpy in giving direction the players in front and particularly on attack.