Coles expecting something different from Australia

GettyImages 1280836558

Another factor in the Covid-19 environment with the reduced opportunities to play Test rugby was gratitude at being able to not only play but to be able to perform in front of packed stadiums.

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles said the situation made the series even more unique. Every game was different, and that evident in the first two Tests.

"I am sure this one will be different again. It's cool, we're really enjoying the challenge of it, and we're looking forward to getting into it on Saturday," he said.

The All Blacks were aware of the task ahead of them on Australian turf. The Australians had shown before their ability to turn up at home, and they had a good win ratio with the All Blacks.

"We're expecting a big battle. The intensity will probably raise from Eden Park. There's huge stuff on the outcome, so previous results don't count. They'll be up for it, and we've got to match that and make sure we turn up again," he said.

The All Blacks responded to what Coles called, 'a bit of a punch on the nose' in the drawn first Test by lifting their physicality for the second Test at Eden Park. The Wallabies hit the All Blacks hard in that area in the first Test, and the All Blacks knew they had to make a big step up in that department in Auckland.

"We had to come out with some good intent. We did that at times, but we've got a lot to improve in our game and get better at. We know what it looks like, but we've still got to raise the bat a little, and I'm sure Aussie will be doing the same," he said.

Coles said it was an attitude that more experienced players needed to drive. It wasn't something where players went out to do silly things but to stick to their 'cleans' and tackles and to follow the example the senior players set.

After attracting attention on the back of his performance in his starting debut in Auckland wing Caleb Clarke had handled the attention well, Coles said.

"He's a pretty happy person. He's got the ability to flick the switch when it comes to game time and the challenge for him is to back it up, and we're hoping he can do something like that again," he said.

With his father Eroni having been an All Black Caleb had something of an insight about what the All Blacks are, he said.

"He's a good kid and willing to learn…it's quite refreshing to see a young kid keep his feet on the ground," he said.

Lock Sam Whitelock said Clarke was a strong man and impressive to watch in action.

"I played him in Super Rugby, and he's a bit of a nightmare to try to tackle so hopefully he takes that form into the next couple of weeks," he said.

The All Blacks take on Australia in the third Bledisloe Cup Test at 9.45pm NZT on Saturday 31 October at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

Ngā Karere o te Wā

Tirohia Te Katoa