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Returning All Blacks stars hungry

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Sportal.co.nz     26 Aug 2011     Getty Images

Fullback Mils Muliaina said while the break that he and Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Brad Thorn and Owen Franks had enjoyed was good, there was a determination to put that to use in the match.

Because those who went to South Africa were being held back in training to recover from the travel, the rested hands were getting antsy as they prepared for the contest ahead.

Muliaina said there was nothing out of the ordinary surrounding Australian expectations for the game. That was the way they always were and they would also be hurting from their loss in the first clash between the two sides.

"We saw that hurt at the end of the game in Auckland and we will be expecting them this week to front up physically," he said.

By the same token New Zealand had their own motivation for doing well in Brisbane, especially knowing the difficulties the Investec Super franchises had in winning in Queensland.

And while Israel Dagg's effort in South Africa had demonstrated his rising star, Muliaina was not exhibiting any outward concern.

Rather the prospect of heat for the fullback's role was exciting and a repetition of the contest he had through the earlier years of his career with Leon MacDonald for the role.

"There's probably three guys who can step in there and they are really putting their hand up. There is an excitement there that I go out there and reflect my role in this team and not go out and look for things to try and shine.

"That's never been part of me and I've just got to go out there and perfect everything I can in the fullback role and do my job to the best of my ability.

"If I can do that and it results in a successful result then I am going to be stoked," he said.

The competition would be good for the side in the Rugby World Cup.

And he wasn't concerned that 100 Tests were looming on the horizon. He was more concerned about getting No. 99 at the moment. Saturday is his 98th Test appearance.