All Blacks prepare for physical contest

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Lynn McConnell     11 Nov 2017     Getty Images

Down on the sort of form that marked their 2016 efforts, the All Blacks are looking to regain the sort of touches that saw the Springboks mauled 57-0 at Albany and which produced the stunning first half in the first Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Sydney.

With key players, captain and No.8 Kieran Read, lock Sam Whitelock, hooker Dane Coles and mid-fielder Ryan Crotty rested since Brisbane the expectation is they will provide valuable impetus and experience to the side.

Reid said at his captain's run in Paris that the side had every incentive to work hard on the aspects that they didn't get right in their Brisbane loss.

"I guess the guys who were involved in Australia are hurting because they haven't had a shot yet.

"We want to go out there and play really well and put in a performance that we are after," he said.

While regaining the best touches of their Investec Rugby Championship form was their goal, the All Blacks were well aware of what the physical intent from France could do to their plans at the breakdown, collisions and in set-piece plays.

"We have to front up physically against Northern Hemisphere teams. That is a given," Read said.

"From that we have to be able to execute our skills and be able to adapt. The French will put us under pressure in different ways.

"We have to have a really good attitude. If we do that, I am sure we will do well," he said.

Having played the British & Irish Lions in three Tests, the Rugby Championship rivals South Africa and Argentina twice, and Australia three times, there was some refreshment in going into the unknown against France.

"The guys are excited to be playing against a different team. They [The French] have improved over the last couple of years in how they are playing the game so they are certainly showing a lot of their old willingness to throw the ball around," he said.

At the same time the Al Blacks wanted to play well.

"You are not necessarily going to score heaps of tries and blow teams off the park," he said.

"They've got big buys who run upright, and if we just try to match them high, they'll get that ball away. We've got to try to get them on the deck as soon as we can.

"It shows their attitude is positive and hopefully that lends itself to an exciting game," he said.