Aaron Smith vowing to be better in Auckland

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Disappointed with his performance, Smith said there were areas of his game, his energy, speed to the ruck, his passing, which lacked the required Test match lift.

 

At the same time, his opposite Nic White had the sort of impact on the game that Smith prefers to have.

 

"He was able to attack our D [defence], he set up a couple of tries, he kicked well…having that impact on a game is something I like to do.

 

"He had a great game and it was hard to watch. I was watching clips on the way up [from Wellington to Auckland], and it was the things we talk about for a halfback – the ruck ball and their intent at the breakdown that makes it real easy when you're playing behind ball on a plate," he said.

 

While the All Blacks hadn't lost the game, there were comparisons with the 2019 Bledisloe Cup opener when they lost 26-47 in Perth.

 

After that, they returned to Auckland and put a 36-0 effort on the board.

 

Smith said there were some simple messages to emerge from their review on Tuesday.

 

"If you don't show up with the right intent mentally, it's a long day. My standard wasn't up to it. My passing was erratic, inaccurate and set us up. It gave them shots at Richie Mo'unga, it didn't give our forwards opportunities to run on to the ball…things I take pride in, I need to sharpen up," he said.

 

 

Last year hooker Dane Coles was the face of the All Blacks' need to lift their game after Perth and he revisited many of the same attitudes they needed before Sunday's Test at Eden Park.

 

"There was a lot of stuff that we were disappointed in. It's about getting those combinations together and making sure we're way better this week. It's little things – physicality, intent, and the breakdown, where we weren't too good. We've got to get better," he said.

 

Australia had shown good intent at the breakdown, especially the small things like taking players off the ball.

 

"At [an] international level that's your bread and butter. We need to raise the intensity in that area.

 

"When you're coming off a performance like that, you need a response. It's only Tuesday and we've got to build the week, but there's plenty of motivation to work hard and get better for Sunday," he said.

 

The need to remain on point for as long as the game runs, whether 80 minutes or 89, was important because any lack of attention could provide the opposition with a chance.

 

"When you see clips with their intent and them smashing guys at the ruck, and us just parking up and having a holiday, that's personal pride stuff.

 

"It's been made a focus point, so it's up to us to find what you need to bring that out. There's no recipe or secret word. Everyone will have to go to that place where that comes out in their game," Coles said.

 

There had been a feeling of déjà vu in facing the Wallabies who played with many of the characteristics that marked coach Dave Rennie's time with the Chiefs in Super Rugby.

 

"He's got a good understanding of how to create chaos at the ruck. We've seen that in the teams he's coached in New Zealand, and he's making his mark," he said.

 

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