All Blacks determined to make amends for 2020

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That starts on Saturday with the opening Test of the Steinlager Series against Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium.

As a senior player in the side, Coles said he felt the more experienced players let the side down last year with their 50 percent record.

"The team and the leaders have taken a good look at themselves and how can we make this team better.

"It's about being better every day, putting everything we can into getting a performance on game day. It's about walking the talk and getting this team back to where it has been for so long.

"It's not going to be easy, it's going to be bloody tough. We've just got to keep building, and walking towards it and have a bit of fun doing it," he said.

"It's just about going out, leading in those little areas in the forwards and talking with [captain] Sammy Whitelock and just making sure those new guys, and those guys who have had a few games, just worry about their job and can concentrate on preparing well," he said.

Coles, who has always had an affection for rugby league, said he took advantage to get an early appreciation of Mt Smart Stadium when having a tour of the ground with the Mad Butcher on Wednesday.

Coles said he hadn't been able to play there as a Warrior, but it was good to go there and play like an All Black.

It was also good being back in the All Blacks environment and he was grateful to have the start for the opening Test.

Flanker Dalton Papalii said he was delighted to be playing on the openside flank. Richie McCaw and Sam Cane, legends of the game, had played the position and set the example to follow when he was growing up, he said.

His goal would be doing his job, learning his role in and out and doing the basics.

"That's what the All Blacks are built on, doing the basics well and if you have a team that nails their job and do their job right, the one or two percenters will come along," he said.

Papalii said his approach in 2021 had involved taking a step back and appreciating his basic requirements.

"It's the basics done well and I feel if I nail that other stuff will come but if I don't get the basics of catch-and-pass, tackle technique – it's the simple stuff done well that wins championships and I've just got to go and keep doing that. If I don't do that, I won't have a job here," he said.

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