All Blacks looking forward to final phase of season - Taylor

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After up to 35 hours of travel from the Sunshine Coast to Washington DC, the side felt a little jet-lagged. But, Taylor said, they were looking forward to the final phase of their international season.

 

"We've had a good chance to review where we're at," he said of their post-Rugby Championship wind-down.

 

"We had a good taste of what that world stage is like in those big games, and there're some areas in our game we can work on dealing with different games, different levels of pressure and areas of our game that we need to nail when we've got the ball.

 

"It's exciting. I think with a northern tour a lot of the teams we are playing will bring the same level of pressure and try and take away some of those areas we see as strengths in our game. This is where we need to be, a new group that needs to step up in these big Tests and there's no better way to do it than play the best northern hemisphere sides," he said.

 

The side had been hard hit upon arrival in Washington with news of the death in a motor accident of Chiefs and Maori All Blacks back Sean Wainui.

 

Taylor said he wanted to send his love to Wainui's family. The news had been 'hugely devastating to hear', he said.

"He's a man held in high regard among the rugby community. He was a special part of the Crusaders when he first came down and a special part of the Chiefs, Maori All Blacks, Taranaki and the Bay [of Plenty].

 

"It's pretty tough, I know there's a few boys here struggling. I just think a man with so much mana and respect - it's such sad news to hear," he said.

 

There was also shock shared among the players because it was something you didn't ever expect to happen, but it did, and it was part of the cruel reality of the world, he said.

 

It was especially tough thinking about his loved ones, he said.

 

While Washington DC was a new venue for the players to experience, their sight-seeing has been on bus trips around the capital's monuments. 

 

It was apparent upon arrival in Washington that life was continuing with people packed in places, but that also explained the higher numbers that were suffering from Covid, he said.

 

However, the All Blacks were restricted because they couldn't risk catching the disease because of what they wanted to achieve as a team in the games ahead.

 

"We have to be pretty flexible in our thinking, the management and the unions are doing their best to make it as normal as possible," he said.

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