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Improvement will be goal for both sides - Cane

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Lynn McConnell     15 Jun 2018     Getty Images

All Blacks flanker Sam Cane said if the French were anything like the All Blacks their concentration would be on looking to improve their game.

That job had extra significance for the All Blacks loose forwards in Wellington with more experienced players having joined the side. Openside flanker Kevin Gourdon has moved to No.8 while Mathieu Babillot will play on the blindside and Kelian Galletier on the openside flank.

Cane said in preparing to face different players there was a fine line between over-analysing video footage then assuming things were going to be like that and trusting his own reactions out on the field.

"You want to know enough so you are not going in blind but not knowing so much that you are predicting what they are going to do in case they are not going to do the same thing every week," he said.

With all the focus on tackling as a result of first Test refereeing calls, Cane said the All Blacks had a focus on tackling low because if you could drop players where you hit them that was what rugby was all about, winning the advantage line.

"When you tackle high you get carried one or two metres so we are always focused on tackling low," Cane said.

"If one guy goes low then the other guy will try and wrap up the ball at that height but the speed things happen, and I suppose the explosiveness of the athletes, some of those things can get slightly wrong but I can pretty much guarantee it is never anyone's intent to go out and cause any serious damage."

Cane said the All Blacks spent a lot of time on technique and he hoped the majority of the time they got things right.

Flanker Liam Squire said more time in the All Blacks had made him more aware of what his role was and how best to prepare for games.

"You learn what processes work for you and the sort of jump in intensity that it is. More game time has helped me pick up the pictures that I need to see and where I need to be," he said.

With Jerome Kaino out of the picture it hadn't increased pressure on him to increase his leadership role. Cane and captain Kieran Read were able to handle that and Squire found he just had to concentrate on his own role knowing that the loose forwards around him would do their jobs.

Cane described the difference in captaincy approach between Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read.

"What we know with Sam is that he is going to prepare thoroughly for every Test and we know how he is going to play and that's a form of leadership in itself.

"He's quite good at getting around and having a lot of small conversations with individuals to make sure things are covered off. He's the kind of guy who doesn't leave any stone unturned in terms of preparation and that has filtered through to the rest of the leadership group," he said.

From his own experience of captaincy at Super Rugby level, Cane had found having to take on the leadership meant a change in emphasis. As a younger player the focus was on playing well.

"But when you have got more of a significant role you have got to make sure you have processes in place. First and foremost you have got to tick the box and do your preparation and make sure you play well and then find time during the week in what areas you are going to contribute, team wise and leadership wise, and get that balance right because you don't want to be tipping it the wrong way and ultimately not playing well," he said.