Margin didn't reflect how tough it was - Moody

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 The dressing room afterwards was almost low-key, he said, and that was down to a degree of relief that they had made the semifinals.

 

"It was very tough out there and to be honest the scoreline didn't reflect how tough that game was. It was still super-physical and a really good battle. It never felt at any stage that the game was getting away. It was always a grind – it was tough," he said.

 

During the week they hadn't talked too much about the recent losses to Ireland but all of the side knew the danger Ireland represented and who were capable of beating them if they didn't turn up with their A game.

 

"It just gave us that edge coming into the game and we all had our attitudes on point and really just wanted to give it to them," he said.

 

But he said he never felt they had broken Ireland's spirit and he felt they were always ready to give it to the Al Blacks.

 

"I guess the key for us was just starting well and from that first kickoff it was all on," he said.

 

Halfback Aaron Smith said the performance showed how hard the team had been working for each other. The work had been going in during pool play and the behind-the-scenes work on their fitness and all the work on their skills had showed up during the game.

 

"We still left a lot of points out there but it's just really good to see all the work pay off and this week was the first week we didn't do any extras. We just focused on playing good on Saturday. This is knockout footy, there were a hell of a lot of mixed emotions running out there but we knew we were going to be in for a tough one and I'm just really happy with how we showed up and got the result," he said.

 

"I don't score many tries and to get one was special and to sneak over for another I just got caught up in the moment," he said.

 

His wife and son were in the crowd and he was proud they were there to see the effort.

 

Smith said the stadium noise had not been a factor for the side as they were more concerned about getting a good start, something they hadn't achieved in early games in the tournament.

 

 

 

 

First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga said the game had been a lot of fun and that was because they had been able to put into effect all they had practiced during the week.

 

That was what rugby was about and because of the work they had done, they were able to express themselves, especially in the first 20 minutes which then allowed them to put pressure on Ireland.

 

Mo'unga said he and Beauden Barrett had talked when their combination was first contemplated that they knew it was something that wasn't going to happen overnight, it would take time to develop.

 

"It was something that was going to strengthen through games and minutes playing together and I feel like all the training and games we've had leading up to this one here has all come to fruition.

 

"We're in a really good space where we're feeding off each other and he's popping up in the right places," he said.

 

Mo'unga said the win was satisfying yet also a relief and it was important to not take the moment for granted but to celebrate it before working on the next challenge on Monday.

 

Scott Barrett said there had been a good buzz in the changing room after the game but they were all aware there was a big week ahead and they wouldn't be getting too carried away, he said.

 

Barrett said he and the team were not affected by the noise of Irish fans during the pre-game haka and it was just a matter of staying connected with the player beside you in the midst of the volume in the crowd.

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