All Blacks looking to lift standards at Eden Park

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What the team might look like after the drawn first Test in Wellington could depend on the injury situation with the side.

 

It would be Friday before Beauden Barrett knew if his Achilles tendon injury had recovered enough for him to play. Lock Sam Whitelock had suffered headaches in the aftermath of the Test and was going through concussion protocols and didn't train on Wednesday.

 

Scott Barrett was available for selection and having followed his rehabilitation to the letter he was ready at his intended return-to-play date. There was a chance he may play a game for Taranaki before being considered.

 

Assistant coach John Plumtree said while there was hurt associated with not being able to win the first Test, it was important the All Blacks got back on their plan and worked towards achieving that.

 

"Right now the key to it is get our focus right, we get our plan right, and we build slowly like any other big Test week," he said.

 

"The boys have been pretty hard on themselves around that. The reason for that is that they've got their standards that they want to bring to any big contest and if those standards aren't reached, then you're going to get a reaction like that."

 The physicality the Wallabies brought to the game made an impact, and there was a desire to cope better in Auckland.

 

"There were some late charges, you guys saw all that, and there were one or two other incidents, but All Blacks don't cry – we just get on with it; we adjust to how the game is being refereed, and that's in every department," Plumtree said.

 

"There's always going to be big-talking moments in Test matches, and probably one of the bigger talking moments were some of the late hits, off-the-ball incidents and that. We've seen it all before in these Bledisloe Cup games, haven't we?

 

"We knew that was coming. That kind of play, on the field, has to be dealt to by the referees. There were several occasions where there were some off-ball incidents, but it's got to be dealt with properly on the field. But we've got to be able to adjust to that as well and I think that's probably why you have a couple of senior players, in particular, pretty fired up about it.

 

"If [referee] Paul [Williams] missed stuff, then he's missed it. But if it's a consistent habit that he's seeing and it's not being looked after, then obviously we'd be disappointed. We haven't had those conversations with the referee. If their intent is greater than ours around off-ball incidents, then we just have to make sure we have a crack back at them," he said.

Mid-field back Anton Lienert-Brown said the disappointment had been felt by all the squad.

 

Knowing Australian coach Dave Rennie's style from his time at the Chiefs, Lienert-Brown said they knew what to expect but the disappointing thing was they had talked about it all week but hadn't matched the intent or physicality.

 

"But that's good for us that it's going to be sitting in our belly and it's something we've got to get right," he said.

 

"We thought we prepared really well, but for some reason, it wasn't quite there in the game. The beauty is that we've played them now, we know how they're going to play and they'll adjust a few things. We know what's required to go out there and compete."

 

Limited tickets are still available to the second Bledisloe Cup Test presented by Investec at Eden Park HERE.

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