Whitelock can handle Test captaincy - Taylor

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Lynn McConnell     24 Nov 2017     Getty Images

With captain Kieran Read suffering a back injury on Thursday, and unable to play, the leadership of the side will be taken by Taylor's Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock who led the side to Investec Super Rugby success this year.

Taylor said he thought Whitelock would fit into the captaincy role seamlessly.

"He likes to take control, be real direct with his information he shares on the field and [he] just focuses on a task-by-task attitude when we are out there. He had a pretty good campaign with Super [Rugby] so it will be good to see him go good on Saturday night," he said.

It seemed to be a quality the Whitelock brothers had, they liked to be captains and were good at it, Taylor said.

"It's in his blood. I think he's really excited by it. I know it was one of his goals to captain the All Blacks and for him to run out there on Saturday he'll be pretty pumped and ready to get stuck in," he said.

It was the same with younger brother Luke, fitting in at No.8. It would be as if nothing had changed as he was organising the lineout in attack and defence and Sam would help him out.

Taylor said the fact the All Blacks' scrum had become such a weapon was a credit to the work Mike Cron had done with the players who had come in to replace those injured players who were absent.

"He's really had to work hard to get some of the young boys up to scratch to Test level and to come over here and still be pretty proud of what we're doing on the field is just a testament to that. We'll go out there on Saturday and have the same mindset we have every week and that's to scrum really well and provide good ball for our backs.

Fullback Damian McKenzie said the loss of Wales fullback Liam Williams was a blow for the home said. He had shown his ability during the British & Irish Lions tour but Wales still had key players in their back three with Leigh Halfpenny at fullback. However, there were players throughout their backline the All Blacks would have to look out for.

He said wing Rieko Ioane, who had been expected to be out of action for six months with a rotator cuff injury, had started working from the end of Saturday's Test with Scotland.

"He's been really good this week with how he's gone about his injury. He's just excited to get out there. He's played some great footy and I'm sure he's going to do the same on Saturday," he said.

Working in partnership with Ioane and Waisake Naholo it was about improving their combinations.

"They're very dangerous with ball in hand so it's about getting the ball to them and then running off them," he said.