Motivation is high for Bledisloe Cup – Lienert-Brown

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Midfield back Anton Lienert-Brown said there were no distractions about what might be happening in the future the All Blacks were only concerned about Saturday and getting off to the best possible start in their latest defence of a trophy Australia last held when handing it to New Zealand in 2003.

"Last year for us, wasn't good enough, we've talked about that, it's not the All Blacks' standard, we want to be better and we're driven to be better so this is a massive challenge for us to start in the right way," he said.

Australia would face a double Test now that the first two Tests of the series will be in Auckland due to Covid issues in Australia. To keep the series alive for the third Test in Perth, they will have to claim a win in either the first or second Tests, on a ground where they haven't win since 1986.

Lienert-Brown said for the All Blacks, the early part of the week was about content, assessing the Wallabies' threats, and working on things slowly before putting it into practice from their Tuesday training session.

He felt the Australians would be confident after winning their series with France, and he acknowledged they had played well to achieve the win.

"We know they're going to be physical, and they're going to want to out-work us, so there's not a lot of things that are going to surprise us. But they're going to be up for this game and we've got to match them physically," he said.

Memories of earlier contests with the Wallabies were always valuable, and the All Blacks recalled how they had turned up for last year's first game so, they would be putting the lessons learned into Saturday's game.

While there might be some benefit for the Australians from having such close contests with France in their June series, the All Blacks didn't have close games, but there was a lot of experience in their group, and a lot of the side had played big games, so that would count as well, he said.

The evolving combinations in New Zealand's midfield were seen during recent Tests, and Lienert-Brown said all he could focus on was doing his duties well and what he could control was all that mattered.

"I try not to read too much and just focus on my job so I'm just trying to play to the best of my ability and help out where I can," he said.

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