Breakdown a focus for All Blacks in second Bledisloe Cup clash
All Blacks assistant coach Jason Ryan said there is still plenty to strive for in Saturday afternoon's final home Test of the year against Australia in Dunedin.
And after the 38-7 Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup win in Melbourne on Saturday, the breakdown will be one area of focus.
Ryan said the game had been physical, everything they expected in a Bledisloe Cup game.
There had been some strong play by the Australians at the breakdown.
"They pressured us in that area, and we lost a bit of rhythm at times. I think the breakdown was a little bit of a result of our carry, so we'll look to tweak a few things there around that sort of thing with our height, but once we got a bit of our momentum back and we started to play quick, we felt quite confident.
"The pace was pretty fierce as well, the boys have recovered well and they will put a lot of work into that this week and keep them fresh."
The selectors would not look to compromise performance in their choices for the Dunedin Test, and the All Blacks would prepare with the uppermost respect for their last Test match at home this year.
With Chiefs flanker Sampeni Finau still to have the call-up to the side, Ryan said everything they had seen of him during Super Rugby Pacific had been replicated in his training with the All Blacks squad.
"He's very diligent, he prides himself on getting his homework done and he's had a good physical prescence at training so that's what we want from our six [blindside flanker] and he's tracking nicely."
Ryan said the feeling they have had since picking the side is that they want to win first, but with that came being brave in selections and giving players opportunities, and they believed that had occurred during their recent Tests.
He said the experienced members of the side had done a lot of work with the newcomers. An essential part of introducing new players was ensuring they were set up well for the job during the week. As an example, he pointed to how prop Tamaiti Williams had performed when getting his chance.
Ryan confirmed that wing Emoni Narawa, who has had a back injury, was unavailable this week.
All Blacks vs Australia: Saturday 5 August, 2.35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.
If you’re in Dunedin this Friday we would love to meet you! Come down to the Octagon at 12:15pm to hang out with some of the team 🙌 pic.twitter.com/84QuTKzUMG— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 31, 2023