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McCaw: All Blacks all set to go

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Sportal.co.nz     27 Aug 2011     Getty Images

There was a degree of enthusiasm from those nine players who didn't travel while he was sure those who were in Africa have worked hard to ensure they were right.

McCaw was emphatic that winning the Tri Nations Trophy for the last time was the side's only concern on Saturday, and the Rugby World Cup would be a factor when it starts in fortnight, and only then.

Forecast wet weather would obviously affect any game plan – it would become a case of retaining possession and working harder for field position, he said.

"You would probably limit what you try at times but you don't want to stop trying to play and what you have practised all week. Hopefully we have got plans in place if it does get wet," he said.

It would be no surprise that the Australians would be more physical – they had shown that against South Africa a fortnight ago and would be aware of the All Blacks' intentions.

"We've got to make sure we bring the same sort of intensity. We were a little off last week, at breakdown time we lost that battle slightly and it is tough to get your game going when that is the case.

"I think the key will be, and it always is, about taking the most of your opportunities. In the first Test that's what we did and we got ahead and got control of the game. Last week we didn't the Africans got up by a few points and it shows you it becomes tougher," he said.

McCaw was surprised that Australian halfback Will Genia had suffered a second head knock at training, on Thursday, but he was confident he would play.

"You are either right or you are not, you can't go in favouring things, and not trying to put your head in places you don't want too. If he's out there I suppose he's good to go," he said.

McCaw, looking at the fact James Horwill would be leading the side for the first time said he recalled his own first Test as leader and it was a little different when you were in charge. Players tended to look at you more for direction in tense, close Test matches and you had to be ahead of the situation with some plans to go to.

"It puts a wee bit more pressure on you. But I'm sure James, he's captained the Reds for a while and played some big matches this year so I'm picking he will have most things sorted," he said.

McCaw also felt that fullback Mils Muliaina, who was coming under increased pressure for his placed in the side from Israel Dagg, would react to the challenge. He was a champion and that was why he had played 97 Tests, he said.

"I'm sure he will go out and have a blinder. He doesn't very often have a bad one," he said.

"If I know Mils it will bring the best out of him. When other guys are playing well you've got to rely on experience. He's a bloody good player himself. It's great we've got some guys who are playing some good rugby but the old fellow, I'm sure he'll do the job well," he said.