All Blacks coaches aware of Welsh psyche towards rugby

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Assistant coach John Plumtree said, and the Welsh would have noticed what contributed to that loss.


"We know that, and we've got to make sure that some of those areas where we let ourselves down in that second Test against the Boks, we fix up and, in fairness, there were a couple of those areas in the first Test that were not flash at as well.


"The two Tests against the Boks were excellent for us, particularly around the physicality of what they brought and we understand we'll probably get a bit of that at the weekend as well," he said.


Plumtree and backs coach Brad Mooar have experience coaching in Wales, Plumtree 20 years ago and Mooar with the Scarlets before taking up his All Blacks position last year.


They were both aware of the Welsh psyche towards rugby, but Mooar's recent experience meant he had good knowledge of many of the Wales players.


“The psyche of the Welsh boys is that they will be really up for this game, they'll be excited about it. They know that it will be a pretty good challenge. They will be very motivated, and what you can expect is that every individual will play above their usual level, and that will make them pretty tough.”

John Plumtree


"If you watch the Welsh play they are a patient side, they build a lot of pressure through carrying the ball off nine [halfback] particularly and they'll be patient with their kicking game as well. They use that to gain territory. So, if it's a little wet at the stadium, and the roof is open it could be a slug-fight potentially on a soft ground," he said.


"Tactically we'll have to be very smart and take our opportunities when we do get territory because we know they'll be working hard defensively and they'll be looking to build pressure with that ball."


The long rivalry between the sides ensured that the All Blacks would be primed ahead of the game.


"Every game we play against Wales has always been a tough task. A couple of the leaders have talked to the boys who haven't been here before about the challenge.



"Wales are a side that you've got to be very patient with, you've got to punch away, you've got to work very hard for a victory. We haven't read too much into the players they haven't got available. In my time as a coach, when three or four players aren't available, there's another three or four who come in that always want to give their very best," he said.


"That can make life tougher. We understand the challenge and we are preparing for a real tough one."


It's no secret the All Blacks' lineout will be one area of concentration for improvement after it struggled, especially against the Springboks.


Welsh veteran and British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones and All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock have played each other throughout their careers. Plumtree said having Whitelock with the side preparing for the Test was good for the team and its lineout aspirations.


"His knowledge of what we're about to face is certainly a bonus for us, and I'm sure Alun Wyn Jones is the same for Wales," he said.


Plumtree said one of the features of choosing sides, at the moment, was the level of competition within the squad for places across all positions.


"Players know they have to play to the standards the jersey demands, and if they don't, there is a possibility they can be replaced because there is another good player biting at the heels.


"That's what I am loving, the way they are connecting as players off the field in these pretty trying conditions. On the field they are battling it out for a spot and it couldn't be better for us right now," he said.


The only player not to be considered will be tighthead prop Angus Ta'avao who dislocated his elbow at training on Tuesday.



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