Preparation the key word ahead of Tonga

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Lynn McConnell     07 Oct 2015     Getty Images

With performances against Namibia and Georgia that were below their own expectations there has been plenty of intent ahead of the last of their pool games against Tonga on Saturday (NZT) in Newcastle.

It was a day off for the side on Tuesday but the thinking was clear from two of the players at least.

Utility back Colin Slade said, "On the back of the last two games we haven't been performing up to the standard we want so we need to be getting our game in order and obviously improving in a lot of aspects.

"We've got the quarter-final locked up now but we've got a tough game against Tonga coming up which is our last chance before the sudden death stuff kicks in."

"It's important when you get a little bit of time off that you relax a little bit. World Cups can be pretty stressful, there's a lot of pressure and the big games to come so any chance to get away, like today, and have a hack [play golf] or whatever it is you have got to make the most of it," he said.

Halfback TJ Perenara backed Slade's comments when saying: "Preparation is key for us. We know when we go out there we want to be performing to the best of our ability and the only way to do that is to get clarity and to prepare really, really well.

"We've been putting a lot of emphasis into our preparation this week and making sure that we nail off things we need to do before we head out there and play.

"Tonga is a very good team, they've got very exciting players and a very physical team so we know they're going to come out and give us a run for our money.

"They'll back themselves to play with the ball so we know we've got our hands full against the Tongan team who want to get out there and play the best that they can as well.

"They've got some very exciting players out there and will be physical so we've got to prepare for that."

Tonga and New Zealand have met four times, the last occasion being in the opening game of the 2011 Rugby World Cup when New Zealand won 41-10. They also met in the 2003 World Cup in Australia when New Zealand won 91-7 and in the 1999 World Cup when New Zealand won 45-9.

Their only other game was at North Harbour in 2000 when New Zealand won 102-0.