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Improvement fueling All Blacks

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Sportal.co.nz     07 Sep 2013     Getty Images

Argentina's play at the breakdown, and their variation on attack in the backline, unsettled the All Blacks initially but the home team goes into this year's game well aware of imposing their own game on the Pumas.

The aim for the All Blacks is to improve on their last outing, no matter who the opposition is.

Argentina would provide a different sort of challenge, he said, a bit more forward oriented and the set piece would be a focus.

"But a big part of it is us wanting to improve on where we have been," he said.

Scrummaging is always an issue when meeting Argentina whose scrummaging ability is their legacy to the game and the All Blacks were looking forward to measuring themselves under the new laws against the Pumas.

"We were better the second week compared to the first and hopefully we are better again," he said.

The engagement had been easy enough to get used to but without the hit of past scrummaging it was a case of being in a good position for longer while also providing quality ball to use.

"We've put a fair bit of work into that but you have got to adapt on the day as well," he said.

With the All Blacks wanting to play a faster game there was a need to dominate possession and to force the opposition into a defensive mode.

Achieving that was important for the side who were trying to avoid the set piece to set piece arm wrestle that had the capacity to drive the All Blacks down to the opposition's level.

"Traditionally that is the way the Argentinians have enjoyed getting stuck in so we have got to make sure we don't allow that to happen," he said.

McCaw said there were aspects of the second game against Australia that were below what the All Blacks wanted and they were conscious of that in this week's preparation.

Argentina had shown against South Africa that they were capable of upsetting the Springboks' flow of possession and they would undoubtedly be keen to try the same against New Zealand.

"They've got the ability to do that if we allow them, it's going to be a good challenge," he said.

While there had been talk of off-the-ball play against South Africa, McCaw said New Zealand didn't want to get distracted. They wouldn't take a backwards step but their prime goal was to play rugby.

McCaw said in the times he had played Argentina there had never been issues.