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Luatua praises three wise men

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Sportal.co.nz     19 Aug 2013     Getty Images

One of these is not like the others but all had a big influence on flanker Steven Luatua ahead of his maiden start for the All Blacks last Saturday.

The Auckland and Blues loose forward was called into the side late last week following Chiefs flanker Liam Messam's withdrawal through injury.

Luatua played all 80 minutes on Saturday as the visitors secured a 47-29 win over Australia in what was a stunning start to the Rugby Championship in Sydney.

After going down relatively early with what he described as a 'stinger', Luatua recovered to impress onlookers as mentor and fellow loose forward, Richie McCaw was substituted with seven minutes to go.

Luatua's eloquence on the field made a smooth transition to his media commitments as he described the scene.

"Most of the game my lungs were blowing and my legs were heavy, trying to make tackles and what not," said Luatua.

"Like Aaron [Cruden] said, they pose threats right across the board. I was trying to do my part for the team."

Flying in late meant there was little time to adapt to the All Blacks but Luatua praised the assistance given to him by fellow forwards McCaw, Read – and Hore.

"I was lucky enough to have Andrew Hore as my roommate. He's been encouraging me and influencial in my preparation," Luatua revealed.

"It's pretty special. [I was] with Richie and Read...they've been real encouraging and what not. They just told me to do my job. Playing alongside them, they are pretty inspirational guys and made my job that easier."

As for the speculation around whether McCaw would've been ready for the 18-point hiding, Luatua said the captain's actions spoken louder than the words of others.

"I think people don't see the work he does behind the scenes. We see him around the track and training and what not.

"He hasn't played a lot of footie, but he's still gassing me," Luatua quipped.