All Blacks have learned lessons from Li­ons se­ries, says cap­tain Read

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WELLING­TON: The All Blacks were dis­ap­pointed not to de­feat the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons in their se­ries this year but the ex­pe­ri­ence will ben­e­fit the world cham­pi­ons in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship as they build to­wards the 2019 World Cup, cap­tain Kieran Read has said.

Af­ter an im­pres­sive win in the First Test against the tourists, New Zealand lost the sec­ond match in Welling­ton be­fore a 1515 draw in the Third Test saw the se­ries end 1-1.

“We re­viewed that se­ries com­pre­hen­sively,” Read told re­porters in Auck­land yes­ter­day be­fore the team headed to Aus­tralia for their Aug 19 clash with the Wal­la­bies.

“It’s part of a mas­sive (les­son) for us as a group, what we took out of that se­ries around how we need play this game and how we need to re­act to pres­sure.

“We’ve got to make sure it helps us. We’ve got a good cou­ple of years com­ing up, and some­thing pretty big af­ter it at the World Cup, where there will be sim­i­lar pres­sures from what we had a month ago.

“To get that ex­pe­ri­ence first­hand for a lot of guys is re­ally ben­e­fi­cial. Hope­fully it will show in this Cham­pi­onship, in these Bledis­loe Cup games, what we’ve learned.”

The All Blacks romped through last year’s Cham­pi­onship play­ing a fast-paced, high-skilled style of game but said it was un­likely they would be able to do so again this year, with the Li­ons of­fer­ing a blue­print on how to chal­lenge them.

The open­ing match of the south­ern hemi­sphere cham­pi­onship will take place against a back­drop of tur­moil in Aus­tralian rugby, both on and off the field.

None of their Su­per Rugby teams recorded a vic­tory against New Zealand op­po­si­tion in the re­cently com­pleted sea­son, while the Wal­la­bies lost to Scot­land and strug­gled to beat Italy in June.

Read, how­ever, ex­pected Aus­tralia to rise above the prob­lems and pro­vide the All Blacks with a tough test.

“I ex­pect a pretty strong team and a pretty strong ef­fort from them,” Read said. “They have a coach (who) ... wants to beat up other teams and that’s what he’s prob­a­bly im­printed.

“He’s had a month to work on things that he thinks he needs to. I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a Wal­la­bies team over a num­ber of years who have played above what they’ve done in Su­per Rugby.

“This year will be no dif­fer­ent. They’re al­ways a tal­ented team.” Reuters

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