All Blacks expecting fast-paced game from Japan - Retallick

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While acknowledging Japan was keen to take on the All Blacks with a fast-paced game, Retallick said the New Zealanders were putting the focus on themselves.

"We felt like within the Rugby Championship, we made some strides in areas around what we're trying to build on from some performances and losses earlier in the year.

"Our focus is really getting back to where we were a month ago in Auckland, and building on that to continue on to Europe."

Japan have scored a lot of counterattack tries recently, and wanted to speed up the game.

"We will back our fitness to stay with them, if not take the tempo earlier.

"A lot of our focus has gone on our set-piece. If we nail our set-piece, and our carry and clean, we'll be able to retain the ball, and that's when the opportunities happen."

Assistant coach Scott McLeod said the loss of wing Leicester Fainga'anuku, who had returned from Japan for family reasons, on top of the bereavements and illnesses that reduced the team that left for Japan, had not been an issue for the team.

"We've got an outstanding group that's here, and all very keen. We've just come off the training field. Everyone's keen, so we're working with that energy."

Lock Brodie Retallick said disruption was not a word the players used.

"If we were to lose three players on a Friday afternoon before heading into a Saturday Test, we would call it a disruption.

"We knew before we hopped on the plane that they wouldn't be there. We arrived on Saturday night and had Sunday to tidy up a few things.

"They play a massive part in our team but in our eyes that's not a disruption because we started the week without them here, and the boys jumped into it."

The absences of locks Sam Whitelock and Scott Barrett, and their respective roles in attacking and defensive lineouts, would mean some extra duties for by Retallick, Vaa'i and Tuipulotu.

"Tupou has been here for quite a reasonable amount of time now, and Paddy is hugely experienced in the environment, so they know what's required."

The situation was why the side had a large leadership group. If players were not at hand others could step in and carry the load.


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