Playoffs demand accurate preparations for All Blacks

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That was what the All Blacks were now facing in playoffs rugby as they prepared to meet Ireland on Saturday.

 

"That certainly adds to the occasion, it's about pressure really and who will be able to deal with the pressure the best," Cane said.

 

The All Blacks' last few games with Ireland had been 'massive arm wrestles' and 'hugely physical occasions' but this weekend was a playoff game and it was about the team who could prepare the best and front up the best.

 

"They've got many strengths and we're aware of those. We're excited by the challenge and we're exactly where we want to be. We came to this World Cup wanting to play in a quarterfinal and if we don't get it right we're going home. The week has already got a slightly different feel to it," he said.

 

Cane said there was initial disappointment when their game with Italy was cancelled but they had put in some serious work at training on Friday with loads similar to what they had in a game. Physically and mentally there were 'fizzing' to play rugby.

 

The contact area would again be crucial, starting from set piece plays at lineouts, scrums and restarts.

"The team that can win their ball quality, disrupt the other team, allows our backs to get over the gainline, allows collisions to be going forward. Collisions, and dominating them, are predominantly about good, strong attitude and intent and making sure you get that right," he said.

 

Centre Anton Lienert-Brown said while he may have been exposed to playoffs requirements in Super Rugby the World Cup was on a much higher level.

 

But he was firm in his belief that preparation involved having trust in the processes he employed.

 

"Everything I've done up to this point, I've got to trust in that," he said.

 

"Do nothing too differently and just go out there and play my game."

 

At the same it was also important not to overdo things in preparing, balance was important. An extra five or 10 minutes on a computer could be detrimental on Saturday because you were guilty of overthinking things, he said.

 

Ireland were a good side who were well coached and they would have plenty up their sleeve to try and take advantage of things they had seen in the All Blacks' game.

 

"Their coaches have done a great job and it's always been tough but as a team we're in a good place but we're going to have to be right near our best this weekend," he said.

 

Ireland without second five-eighths Bundee Aki, who was suspended for the remainder of the tournament, would still have a quality midfield, he said.

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