No taking it easy - Somerville

NZRU     10 Sep 2007     NZRU

All Blacks coach Graham Henry said after the Italian match on Saturday that New Zealand was sensitive to Portugal's position, but that wasn't how Somerville, who has been plagued by injuries over the past 12 months, saw it.

"There's no taking it easy where I come from.

"Do that in the front row and you get pushed around and you're not a chance for the week after. There's no holding back really. If we want to achieve what we've set out then you've got to commit yourself fully."

Asked if the All Blacks on Saturday will scrummage with the same intensity against Portugal as they would against South Africa, Somerville was in no doubt.

"Definitely, I'm going to.

"I haven't had the chance to scrum for about 12 months. I need to put everything into it to make sure the technique is right and I'll be demanding of the guys who are behind me," he said.

"If you don't put your whole effort into it then your technique is not always going to be right so you're definitely asking for trouble if you don't go in with the right purpose."

"Nothing changes. It is still early days yet and there are still things we want to work on and the building blocks will still be there for what we want to achieve throughout the game, no matter who we are playing. We've got to get those sort of things right to make sure they are in place for later on," he said.

Somerville admitted he was surprised at Portugal's effort in its opening game against Scotland on Sunday.

"They are on the world stage and obviously they are excited as everyone else.

"They gave it there all and got into it which definitely means we can't take it easy."

That he is able to play at all has Somerville thankful for the support shown in him, which included the selectors leaving one place open for him when the World Cup team was named.

"I'm grateful the selectors have shown a lot of faith in me and stuck by me.

"I don't think many coaches would have done that so there is a lot for me to repay.

"I've got to make the most of this opportunity to show I was a worthwhile selection," he said.

The Canterbury stalwart said he wasn't nervous about whether his injuries would hold up but admitted he thought about the prospect of injury more than in the past as a result of his experiences.

He said it was fair to say that there was a time when he felt the World Cup dream might be slipping away.

"I didn't have much time left there in the end. With the eye it was rated 50-50 before I managed to heal it. But as long as I had enough time I thought there was chances of making it. As long as that was there I thought I was still a chance.

"I managed to stay on top of it and whatever the body allowed me to do I kept on doing that and managed to stay fit enough so that time got on I managed to do more," he said.

Somerville also felt his relative youth had been a help because if he had been older he wouldn't have been able to push his rehabilitation so hard and probably wouldn't have been able to get back into contact work because of the jarring effect.