All Blacks and Australia switch focus to Tri Nations title

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Hooker Codie Taylor said the Wallabies had nothing to lose.

 

"They'll want to put in a strong performance and make their nation proud of them, so we're expecting another physical battle.

 

"The last couple of games we won and scored decent points, but they're still a tough side, and when they get some confidence, they're a hard team to stop. They'll have a solid review and still find some things they did well and that they can work-on. It'll be a cracker of a Test on Saturday," he said.

 

With the Bledisloe Cup stored away for another season, the All Blacks camp had similarly switched their focus to the Tri Nations campaign.

 

Taylor said while the first half in Sydney had been great, they had dropped off a little in the second half when Australia had been able to apply some sustained pressure.

But, that had produced some lessons for the All Blacks. While they had extended the scoreline, there had been factors to be considered for the future.

 

"That's the great thing about this group, we've taken them [lessons] on, and we're looking forward to having another crack this week and working on those things," he said.

 

They wanted to get better each week because that was part of the All Blacks' ethos.

 

"I'm pretty excited about where this team could get to because after the last performance we know we can keep learning and keep growing and keep bettering ourselves as individuals and as a team," he said.

 

Playing Australia four times was something new for the side, the first time it had happened for the All Blacks since 1996 against South Africa.

 

Taylor said his approach was not to look at it that way. He looked at each game as an individual challenge. The initial emphasis had been on the Bledisloe Cup but, it had been made clear in their review of the Sydney Test that it was time to move forward with winning the Tri Nations tournament as the goal.

 

He said his Crusaders teammate first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga was able to put aside all the media interest in the battle for the position with Beauden Barrett.

"He gets out there and plays with his heart. He loves the game. You saw that at the weekend. He played fluidly, there was a bit of razzle there, it was pretty amazing to watch, but the likes of me and Scoot [Scott Barrett], see it every week when we play with him in franchise stuff, so it's no surprise that he's performing the in the black jersey as well," he said.

 

Lock Barrett said new scrum coach Greg Feek had been working well with the front row and had a clear strategy around what they wanted to achieve each week while assistant coach John Plumtree was working with the lineout and they were an effective combination for the side.

 

"The set-piece at Test level is your No1, that's your bread and butter. When the pressure comes on you want that to be solid so, naturally, we put a lot of time into that each week," he said.

 

Barrett said due to coming back from injury he had been feeling a little scratchy in the minutes he had, and it was taking time to find his rhythm. He wasn't quite at the place he wanted to be.

 

"I've got to stay patient and train with clear intent on what I want to get out of each day and turn up on Saturday with a clear focus and just play," he said.

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