All Blacks coach Ian Foster said they were conscious of the comments the Japanese were looking to play a fast-tempo game. But the All Blacks needed to remember they had a style of game they wanted to play.
"I think the main issue is not so much about the tempo, it's about the control, and accuracy, that comes with it. So we're working hard on that."
Quality in defence, with accurate tackles and good realignment, would be crucial, while with the ball, they need to make the best decisions to deal with what is in front of them.
Having had a four-week break, it was often the timing and the cleanouts at the contact area that could fall off, so it became an area of focus.
"If we do that well then we are quite happy to play at our tempo. We know they'll try to play at theirs, but we don't want to deliberately slow this game down just to negate them because I don't think that will do us any good in the long term."
With another combination in the midfield with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Braydon Ennor starting, Foster said they had trained well and deserved their chances after missing the opportunities they wanted in the Rugby Championship. They had been good behind the scenes.
"They have actually developed a little bit of a combination acting as the opposition a lot in training and have earned their right to play."
Stephen Perofeta will start at fullback, and Foster hopes he gets his hands on the ball often.
"He's a great quality decision maker in close quarter play, and his ability to deal with people who are coming at him quickly, and to look like he's got time, is probably his greatest strength," he said.
Foster said he had high expectations of the forward pack. It has a hard core of experience, and he was excited by the potential of the backline.
"It's great to see Sevu [Reece] back on the wing and Caleb [Clarke] coming in, and having those wingers and Richie [Mo'unga] at first five-eighths, is going to give that midfield the best opportunity."
Japan had gained some quality scalps in recent seasons, and if they can impose their style on opponents, they could cause teams issues.
"Their whole game is about pressure and forcing you to think fast and move away from the things you want to do. We're aware that this is a team that will have its moments in this Test match and we've got to be able to deal with those."