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All Blacks close to achieving goals

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Lynn McConnell     08 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Flanker Sam Cane said they had been working on things and were getting them about 80 percent right but if they could get some of those small things to work, whether it was someone working a bit harder to get back in place or someone else looking up and seeing space, they would get there and hopefully that would be seen at the weekend.



Some of the things they were working on had been seen between the training week and the Barbarians game last weekend and they were hopeful of more improvement against France, he said.

While France had been struck by injuries, New Zealand had also and it would be about the players who were chosen and how they fronted that mattered on Saturday, he said.

"Knowing the French sides that I've played in the past, and watched, whoever puts on that jersey to play the All Blacks will front. We're not getting sucked into any of this injury carry on. I know that they will come out firing," he said.

Midfield back Ryan Crotty said while France have 16 reported players out with injury the All Blacks would still prepare in their usual weekly routine. There would be some study done of individuals but the All Blacks expected France would play in the way they always had with their flair and free-flowing rugby and off-loads.

"No matter what backs are there, they always have good footwork and express themselves in the way they play rugby so that's French rugby and that's what we're going to expect on Saturday night," he said.

Crotty said he last played against big French mid-field Mathieu Bastareaud in age-group rugby and he had been a big player then.

"He could potentially be playing there and if I got the opportunity to play against him it could be pretty exciting and a tough match-up," he said.

Crotty said he thrived on playing at Stade de France because of the atmosphere it generated. He recalled that last year the French had held onto the ball for long phases, and they were conscious of that for this weekend. And one of the challenges would be preparing ways to try and get the ball back by being more dominant on defence, attacking the breakdown and knowing their defensive roles.