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First things first for All Blacks against Baabaas

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Lynn McConnell     03 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Halfback TJ Perenara said the side had structures they took into every game which they tried to play within but also with the ability to play what was in front of them.



The Barbarians were renowned for trying to throw curve balls at sides but if the All Blacks sensed certain opportunities they had the chance to trust their instincts.

"Our game is built around our structures so we play within our structures until we see something in front of us that tells us to do something different," he said.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the game was seeing how the All Blacks cope with a rampant team-mate from past sides Julian Savea on the wing against them.

Savea's younger brother flanker Ardie Save said it would be the first time he had played against his brother but he added Julian would be excited about playing the All Blacks.

The brothers met up on Wednesday and Ardie said Julian was 'pretty pumped' and he was hopeful he didn't run down his channel.

Off scrums and lineouts tended to be the channel wings would use and that would be where Ardie would come up against him. While Julian had told media that if he saw Ardie in his path he would try and sidestep him that drew an immediate response from both Ardie and TJ Perenara.

"He's lying. If he can bowl us over, he'll bowl us over," Perenara said.

At the same time Perenara said while they were close and spent a lot of time together at the Hurricanes, it was a case of having to put that friendship aside when they get on the field. He was the foe and they were playing the game they love.

"My desire to win probably outweighs my desire to be friends with him in that 80 minutes," Perenara said.

Ardie Savea said he felt Julian, who is on a prescribed plan from the All Blacks selectors to work on aspects of his game, had been lifted by taking on the Wellington captaincy when injuries took Brad Shields out of the Mitre 10 Cup programme for a period.

"Just from watching him, he's enjoying playing footy again. You're seeing him running over guys again, hopefully he doesn't do that this week. He could have just dropped lip and had a sulk but he's fighting hard, and working hard as well and most of all he's having fun," he said.

The Hurricanes link was also seen with Perenara's inside backs partner and first five-eighths Beauden Barrett to captain the side.

"He brings a great calmness and understanding of the game. He's never had the label of captain but every team I've been in with him he's probably had a similar role to a captain. He talks a lot and talks accurately in team huddles. In the build-up to a Test or a game he's very influential in that week," he said.

Savea said both he and Perenara had played for the Barbarians so they knew they would bring a lot of flair to the game and if it went that way it would be an entertaining fixture.

"For us it's about earning the right and just trying to smother them and not give them any opportunities," he said.

While it had been intended to give him a break to charge his energy levels, Savea said he was feeling good. He had a brief break and he was feeling good about playing against the Barbarians.