Proctor relishing his Test chance

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Lynn McConnell     03 Nov 2018     Getty Images

Centre Matt Proctor will be achieving the dream of attaining All Black honours after an accelerated rise to Test status.

Proctor said it had been a long road but he had enjoyed being able to string games together over the last month or so without injuries.

"I'm just enjoying my rugby and I'm pretty excited about this coming week," he said.

Making the All Blacks wasn't part of his focus when recovering from injury setbacks. His mind was on whatever his first job was, whether that was with the Hurricanes or the Lions.

"It's just awesome to finally get a crack," he said.

Having fellow Hurricanes backs around like Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder made the transition easier.

"Especially having Ngani there. I've played a lot of footy over the last few years with him inside me so it's been good to have him around. He's someone I can go to if I'm unsure of anything," he said.

First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga, who will be playing his fifth Test, said he still felt like a new boy. The game had its challenges but the leaders had been doing a good job in preparing the side.

In his position he needed to be a leader and he said it was something he needed to get better at and that would be especially the case in such an inexperienced unit.

The important part of the preparation for the game was achieving the clarity the side would need and if they could do that then nothing was a burden.

Mo'unga said he was feeling comfortable in his role but as with anything it was about time in the saddle.

"The more time you get, the better you get. I'm at a stage now where I'm comfortable to lead discussions and to be a leader. For me this week it looks a little bit different and I'm able to be in a 10 jersey which is awesome," he said.

His earlier start, against Argentina in Nelson, had shown how important it was to clear clutter and achieve the clarity required.

"It sounds so simple but when you're clear you're not second guessing yourself. If I don't play instinctively then I'm not going to be half the player I want to be so if I can get that then I usually play pretty well," he said.

Mo'unga said the All Blacks were aware of several of Japan's players, notably No.8 Michael Leitch who played for the Chiefs and who was recognised as a spiritual leader for the side while he said one of his favourite players was halfback Fumiaka Tanaka, who had spent time with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

He was a speed player around the ruck and was an interesting character.