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All Blacks prepared for Welsh thrust

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Lynn McConnell     25 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Wales go into the Test conscious of the fact they haven't beaten the All Blacks since 1953 while the All Blacks were keen to add to their record in games between the sides.

It has special significance for the Whitelocks, Sam and Luke, who will play No.8 in place of injured captain Kieran Read, with their grandfather Nelson Dalzell having played in the last side to lose to Wales.

Speaking at his first Test captain's run, Whitelock said he was keen to avoid his grandfather's fate in the game.

Wales and New Zealand were in similar situations with key players out while both sides had newer players sprinkled through their sides and those in the All Blacks had shown they were excited about their chances and were ready to go.

"It's a massive game, a massive Test, it always is. The boys are ready. We've done as much homework as we can and now it's about being fresh for the game," Whitelock said.

Captaining the Test side was a massive part of his career but the beauty was that there were several players in the team who had done it before.

"It's never up to one person to lead, so all I've got to worry about is going out there and playing well and doing my own job and role first. If I do that hopefully it should all come naturally.

"It was always a thing to play for the All Blacks but I've never been too fussed around being captain. It's something the longer I've been round it's probably something I've been more aware of in trying to help out our previous captains as much as possible. That's where it's probably grown from," he said.

There was no escaping the family connection in a Test match. He said he had played with No.8 Luke for the Crusaders, and with two other brothers in that side, but to do it in a Test match was 'unreal'.

"My parents are going to be in the stand and they will be quite emotional but the best thing for us is that we're doing what we love," he said.

"We always want to play well every week and this week is no different and it's making sure everyone has a good week, and we have, so we're really clear and we're excited to be out here now and let our actions do the talking," he said.