Another challenge for All Blacks' pack

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Captain and No.8 Kieran Read said what sides did up front and by turning up with the right intensity was what won Test matches and big occasions.

 

"For us as an eight that's our challenge and we'll take that on and look forward to putting that on them as much as we can," he said.

 

It worked in Auckland as they turned around their loss in the first Test against Australia and he was looking for a repeat in Japan.

 

Read said the game was going to be 'massive' and a great occasion.

 

"The South Africans are going to be well and truly up for it and we can't wait for it.

 

"We know that World Cups are different to regular games, and South Africa in our opening game of the tournament is going to be one of those bigger games you've played over your career, so I'm really looking forward to that. It's an awesome challenge to face," he said.

 

Read said the way the All Blacks were varying their combination in the loose forwards in combination with flankers Sam Cane and Ardie Savea was not too much different.

 

"It's a combination so we're swapping around at the back and on the side of the scrum and just really working as much together as we can. It's a full package. With Shannon [Frizell] coming in this week it's been crucial that we've integrated him and he's someone who's been in the environment before so making sure we each do our role.

 

"Each position has their role and you do it to the best of your ability generally it works out well for us as a team," Read said.

 

The side would have to be physical across the board against South Africa.

 

The Springboks were a side who were physical, who defended well, kicked well and accrued points when they were on offer and used the strength of their maul. They had developed the ability to play off counter attack and turnover ball through their backs.

 

The All Blacks knew what would be coming from them and he believed they had a plan to match what South Africa offered.

 

Being his third World Cup, Read said staging it in Japan offered a new perspective to the tournament and created a new audience.

 

It was a sign the game was growing globally, something that Sevens had contributed to that and he said it would be amazing to go to the Olympics playing a sport you loved.

 

"That's growing and it's not just the traditional teams winning at Sevens and I think we've found over the last few years that when you've got a competitive World Cup on top, which we've got here, there's a number of teams that could win it and then there's that next tier who are always knocking on the door so it's something that's really good for the game."

 

Read said inexperienced wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece had good heads on their shoulders and while they were new to Test rugby they had experienced pressure games across their careers and now it was about going out and performing.

 

First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga's game had involved immensely. He was the leader of the side from first five-eighths and he had grown into that role and the side wanted to see him continually pushing them, he said.

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