All Blacks motivated to finish tour on a high

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Lock Brodie Retallick said while the tour had been a long one, the feeling within the team was good.

 

As they flew out for Perth in September, he thought the tour might drag on, and players could get fatigued. But the way the coaches had worked things around game time, players getting opportunities, and resting players, the group was still in a great space.

 

That was evident in the edge around their training for the weekend, and energy levels were high.

 

"Everyone knows we're two games away from home but we want to finish with two wins," he said.

 

Retallick said the week's preparation had been one of their best, and they were looking forward to another contest with Ireland.

While it was 2016 in Chicago before Ireland recorded their first win over New Zealand, they were a side who were never under-estimated by the All Blacks.

 

They were always regarded as tough opposition and, over the last five to seven years, they had been playing some outstanding rugby.

 

"There's no way we under-estimate any challenge, and what is in front of us this weekend," he said.

 

Retallick said they were expecting Ireland's set-piece would provide a big contest while in the backs second five-eighths Bundee Aki got them a lot of 'go-forward' while Johnny Sexton played off the back of the forwards' effort.

 

"We need to stop that, and hopefully gain our own momentum, so we can put ourselves in with a chance of the game," he said.

With lock Paul O'Connell having moved into coaching Ireland's lineout, Retallick said he was a legend of Ireland and world rugby, and their lineout had some different set-ups compared with what most other sides ran. Combating that would be a challenge in terms of the movement they generated.

 

"Then they have some great height there, so stopping it and getting that right…is first things first, but from what I've seen in some of their Six Nations stuff, and again last week, they run a pretty good lineout," he said.

 

Beauden Barrett has the starting first five-eighths role for the game. He was a massive part of the team, as was any first five-eighths whose job it was to lead the team around the field, he said.

 

"To play 100 caps, two-times world player of the year, he's just a class player on and off the field. In the last few years he's grown and to come back from Japan and put a performance on like he did in Cardiff [in his 100th Test] was special to see, and it's an awesome achievement for him and his family," he said.

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