New All Blacks ready to step up

Getty Images     07 Jun 2012     Getty Images

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said after announcing his side that Ireland would be going into the game with no other attitude than seeking a win.

"We saw in their last performance at Eden Park, against Australia [at the World Cup], that they are capable of putting top performances together. Clearly Australia may have under-estimated Scotland . They've got a pretty busy week, maybe they were thinking about that second Test this week, I'm not sure.

"But we can't fall into that trap. We've got to hit the ground running and running hard," he said.

Part of the process of ensuring New Zealand are ready will be ensuring a settled build-up for the side's three new caps, halfback Aaron Smith, lock Brodie Retallick and wing Julian Savea.

Hansen said Smith would have an opportunity to go through the starting process and to bring his game 'to the party' and use Weepu to come off the bench or if there was a need to change the game plan or if his experience was needed at the end of the game.

Smith said having senior players around him was important and they had been good during the preparation.

"I'm really enjoying getting to know the tendencies they have and having Dan [Carter] outside me is really cool and just working with other guys who have been in this environment has been really good," he said.

Smith had no qualms about having to bark at his more experienced forwards if that was necessary. His smaller stature was an asset and allowed him to get away with a little more than might normally be the case.

One plan was to make sure his bark wasn't personally directed.

"That'll be something I have to come to terms with and hopefully that mutual respect is there that I am saying just what I need to be saying for the good of the team," he said.

Hansen chipped in by saying Smith was too humble to say that he was very good at giving orders.

"He's a cheeky wee man and forwards love him. Forwards just expect halfbacks to talk and coaches do too and halfbacks are obliging because they like talking."

Lock Brodie Retallick had been in outstanding form for the Chiefs and that was behind his choice ahead of Ali Williams. There was every confidence among Hansen and his selectors that Retallick was up to the job, despite his relative youth.

Retallick said the senior members of the side had been supportive during training and helpful in giving pointers in how to do things better.

Savea said it was all a dream to be involved after having watched all his new team-mates playing on television.

"I'm really excited. The boys have been helping a lot and I'm just eager to learn and things have been going good so far," he said.

Hansen said Victor Vito's choice on the blindside of the scrum was due in part to the heavy workload rival Adam Thomson had borne with the Highlanders in Super Rugby.

"We're really looking to Victor to bring his physical game and Thommo can just concentrate this week on catching his breath and coming off the bench.

"Victor by his nature has been a ball runner but as his game has matured he has got better and better in that area [physicality] and we're starting to see it. We'd like to see it again on Saturday," Hansen said.