All Blacks wary of galvanised Wallabies

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All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor said the suspension of three Australian players for a breach of team protocols was dangerous for the All Blacks because the Wallabies were likely to show they were still unified with a lift in performance.

 

"These things happen, I think they're still going to bring the same level of confidence they always have…no matter what Aussie team runs out they always back themselves," he said.

 

Taylor said there had been a step-up in the squad during the week's preparation, and while there was some uncertainty over what lay ahead, that was removed when it was announced two Tests would be played at Eden Park.

 

"It's a hell of a stadium to play at and it's a challenge for us to go there and play two games in a row against a team that is probably pretty confident," he said.

 

Being a Bledisloe Cup game, it would be tough, and, like any big game, it was likely to come down to the last 10 minutes before a winner was apparent.

 

"After some of our performances last year against Aussie, they'll be pretty confident that they can come and play really well here, so for us, it is just focusing on what we want to do on the field and bringing that intensity that is needed to have another opportunity to lift that Cup," he said.

 

Taylor said his Crusaders teammate prop George Bower, who will start his first big Test at loosehead, had settled into the side. He was keen to absorb all he could, and the simpler he made things, the better he played.

 

 

"He's really stepped his game up in that physical part of it, his defence and ball carrying ability, and his scrummaging, has been unreal to date and I think he should be pretty confident in his ability to just go out there and back himself," he said.

 

"He's probably one of the fittest props I've ever met, he's got a good bronco time and his charisma off the field, he's a good man. He debuted a bit later in his career but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to learn and absorb as much as he can to make him a better player," he said.

 

Bower had been the same with the Crusaders since first joining, and he had taken steps forward each year.

 

Ardie Savea said moving back to No8, after playing on the openside flank, was a good challenge, but more than anything, he was happy to be on the field.

 

He said he had never played with chosen open side Dalton Papalii, but he had been watching him and appreciating his play.

 

"His physicality, his presence, the work he does in the breakdown. He's the guy that gees the boys up, and he's come in and been himself.

 

"I'm really looking forward to just getting stuck into it with him and Aki [Akira Ioane] at No6 [blindside flanker]," he said.

 

The All Blacks were aware of the Australian threat among their loose forwards. They were strong, physical ball carriers, Savea said. Captain Michael Hooper was a class player, and it was a great challenge for the All Blacks in that department.

 

The Australian loosies were often the inspiration for their side, and the All Blacks would need to meet their intensity to get on top of them, he said.

 

"If we don't stop their go-forward which is mainly their loose forwards creating, if we don't front up then it is going to be a long night," he said.

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