Bledisloe Cup legacy looms large for wing partners

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"Sam Whitelock had a great little scene set telling us about the history of it and what it means and for us we hold that trophy up pretty highly so we know we've got to go out and win it again this year," Jordan said.

 

Fellow wing Caleb Clarke said hearing from former player and coach Wayne Smith, who had been part of a team that lost the Bledisloe Cup and how hard it had been to get it back, was beneficial.

 

"We don't want to be that team to lose it as well so it means a lot for all of us."

 

Jordan said he had lined up against Australian wing Marika Koroibete a few times over the years. He was a punishing ball runner who went into action with all guns blazing.

 

Coping with his threat came down to doing as much preview work as possible to prepare for the challenge while also being mindful of anything extra he might bring.

 

"He's been setting the benchmark for wings over the last two or three years so it is exciting playing against him, and I guess it is a challenge."

 

"It's a balanced back three they've got. You've got the power of Marika on the left then Tom Wright with the speed and footwork and Andrew Kelleway was pretty strong in the three Tests against us last year."

 

It had been tough in recent Tests to get the ball out wide, and the outside backs had been talking with coach Joe Schmidt about how they could influence the game more when the ball wasn't coming their way.

 

 

It was about having as much impact off the ball as on it, and hopefully, under the roof at Marvel Stadium they would have the chance to get some running football.

 

Clarke said the competitiveness within the All Blacks squad had been impressive.

 

"We came off a great win before, and we want to keep that momentum going. But the non-23, the boys who don't get to strip, are the ones who help us get that performance we work for at the weekend…they have to emulate how the opposition plays and I think we have to give full credit to the boys who don't get on the field because they are just as important."

 

He said his Blues teammate No8 Hoskins Sotutu had been holding out to play and was excited.

 

They had noted the Australians were looking to bring some brutality. That was evident in the big ball runners they had selected, even in their mid-field.

 

"There's going to be a lot of running rugby under the roof so it's exciting and that's what we're fizzing up for."

 

The ability to have the shackles off to play freely, while enjoying the occasion that went with great match-ups against Australia was what they were seeking.

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