“It’s the true test for us this week” - Feek

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The All Blacks had laid a marker with their performances in Australia, the latest being the 36-13 win over Argentina on Saturday, and the challenge going into this week's Townsville game, the 100th Test between them, was not to let their advance drop.

 

"It's the true test for us this week. These guys have won the World Cup and parts of their game have been hugely dominant and that marker is something we're always going to be striving for," he said.

 

Feek said it was good to see a reward for the contribution the front row group were making. Even with the rotation of players, nothing too much was changing in performance levels.

 

The ability to scrum so well when back on their line in Brisbane on Saturday was something the players had to feel and to make the calls on what was required.

 

If they all bought into the things they trained, then it was possible to achieve the sort of performance that deflated the Argentina scrum, he said.

 

Now that attention had turned to South Africa, Feek said he was looking forward to the first time he's worked with the players to play them.

 

 

"I know the boys will be up for this, we need to be pretty clinical, very clinical actually, to match them. Their set-piece, their scrum, are two of their more x-factor parts of their game. We're fully aware of that," he said.

 

But to cope with that, New Zealand had to get themselves right first and go up another gear from the games they have already played in the Championship.

 

Feek said the collapses and penalties their scrum suffered in the first Argentine Test on the Gold Coast was something they were not happy about. In reviewing the situation, they found they were unexpectedly going forward quite a bit on the hit.

 

"We had to change it on the hop out there, but that showed the boys were doing their job really well. This game [Brisbane] with different refereeing and different opposition, you have to be adaptable at this level so, to get that change last week during the game and this week, was another pleasing thing to see how well the boys can adapt," he said.

 

Feek said he was pleased with the backup work within the group to have injured players like Joe Moody and Ofa Tuungafasi making the step up so impressively.

 

"The other pleasing thing is the way those boys have been working with each other. That has stood out for me and that's probably most pleasing thing, the guys that aren't playing are still contributing," he said.

 

Another feature was the contribution the front-rowers were giving outside their core roles to help set the tone for the rest of the side, especially demonstrated in the defensive hits Nepo Laulala and Moody had made across the two Tests.

 

"They're doing it at special parts at a level that the backs will raise their eyebrows and, again, it gives the whole team a lift," he said.

 

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