Regaining peak finals pitch key for All Blacks

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All Blacks captain Kieran Read said one of the lessons learned from the successful campaigns of 2011 and 2015 was that having come off a big game in the quarterfinal they had to step up again facing the same sort of pressure. It was a one-off game, a final.


"It's how mentally you can get yourself back up to put in a performance again. That's something that isn't easy to do so we're really focused on doing that this week," he said.


It would be a different game, against different opposition and the game would go differently.


Read said the sparring sessions in the media among coaches before games were not a factor for players. He said he never read any news and he was sure a lot of the players were the same.


"For us, we focus on what we can do which is our preparation for the game," he said.


Read said his calf muscle had responded well earlier in the week and he was good to go for the game. The action he took was precautionary and was thankful it had come right.


He confirmed that flanker Scott Barrett had been working from the side of the scrum all week having been told earlier where he would be playing, and he added that Barrett had been involved in the loose forwards' conversations all season.


"He always gets a bit of time training there so this week has been a good one for him from the outset. He's going to add something slightly different for us in the loose forwards but I've have been pretty impressed with what he's been doing for us," he said.


"He brings different attributes to the other guys, he's physical, great in the lineouts and defensively so he's someone who every time he's been on the field for us he's done a great job."


The All Blacks were well aware of the quality of the England team who would be as determined as New Zealand to advance to next week's final.


"England are good enough to win this week so that's all we're focusing on. It's a one-off game, we've got to be prepared to do what it takes to win, it doesn't always just happen for you.


"We've obviously learnt a lot from the past and obviously learnt a lot from the past two [World Cups] as well where we have been successful," he said.


Being a semifinal was different and the All Blacks couldn't use what they did in more traditional Test matches and just roll into the game.


England were going to be rightly on edge and ready to perform so the All Blacks needed to be hungrier than usual for success, he said.


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