World Cup or not All Blacks always under pressure

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Centre Anton Lienert-Brown said the World Cup was the biggest stage for rugby but there was always pressure in a black jersey.

 

"We're always expected to perform, we're expected not just to win but to win well," he said.

 

"I've felt that since day one that I've been in here so you can definitely feel a little bit of added pressure [being at a World Cup] but I know that being in this environment for a while now that the pressure is always there.

 

"We don't just get that from the outside, within we put that pressure on ourselves because we want to perform at the highest level," he said.

 

Over the four years he had been part of the side coping with that pressure had changed from a point of being bogged down with it to achieving a better balance with the process.

 

There was support within the squad to achieve that but he said a player also needed to find out a little about himself to make it work.

 

Lienert-Brown said ahead of Saturday's opening game with South Africa that while the team followed a traditional preparation process it never became boring. Tuesday was a day of working on skills to ensure that by the big training session on Thursday the side was prepared to give everything.

 

Because they loved the game they enjoyed that process and it was easy to do, he said.

 

"We know the importance of repeating things over and over again to try to be the best in the world at them. We pride ourselves on our skills so those things can't get boring for us," he said.

 

Lock Patrick Tuipulotu said while being in the All Blacks environment was a case of knowing what to expect in terms of preparation, there was no doubt that putting that aside and appreciating it was a World Cup game it was a big occasion.

 

"With that comes a lot of excitement, a lot of feeling as well and I suppose when it comes to game day and all through this week we're going to feel that excitement and nervousness leading into the game," he said.

 

Having to focus on traditional rival South Africa as the first game was a help because it added to the intensity of the World Cup.

 

Tuipulotu said he enjoyed Japan and its culture and the welcome the team received in Kashiwa showed the All Blacks played a big part in the lives of rugby supporters in Japan.

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