All Blacks embrace challenge of series decider in Wellington

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The 12-23 loss in Dunedin on Saturday, which he watched from the sideline for all but 30 minutes through no fault of his own, had been tough, Savea said.


But he hadn't lost belief that the All Blacks could complete the job.


"When we played tighter, and went to our lineout and drives, it worked well. But we couldn't hold onto the ball.


"When we did get it, we turned it over, and that was due to Ireland's pressure. When they were attacking, their intent was more than we had," he said.


"To be better, we've got to learn and grow."


The hurt of the loss had an impact on the side, and after reviewing the game, they knew where they needed to nullify some things. The Test would be massive.


"We couldn't hold on to the ball through basic errors. Ireland were too good on the night.


"They came with a game plan and put us under immense pressure, and we couldn't handle it. That's tough to swallow. We want to go out and represent the black jersey…to put something out like that…it hurts," he said.

The usual reaction from New Zealand fans had kicked in, and the All Blacks knew how people felt.


"I try and stay away from that, but I'd be lying if I'm scrolling through Instagram and you see that stuff. That's the reality of our job, and what we do in the jersey," he said.


"It does hurt because we are a family here, but with everything that's happened, we've got each other's backs. People perceive what they see. But they don't know what goes on inside.


"I back my coach, back my skip, back my players, 100 per cent, side by side.


"There's always noise from the outside when you're representing the black jersey. That comes with it. That's the standard of the legacy and past players put upon it.


"For us, it's about staying tight, connected, trusting what we have, and taking it day by day. No one else outside is going to help us put out a good performance. That has to come from within each individual in this team.


"That's a great challenge, and something I think we can walk towards and embrace this week," he said.


"I love being written off. After a performance like that [in Dunedin], we know what we need to do. We learn from it. Now it's about embracing the challenge. And what a week to do it, in Wellington.


"It does hurt being the first All Blacks team to let an Irish team win here. That's something we'll hold on to and use to hopefully help us be best prepared for Saturday."



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