All Blacks all geared up for all im­por­tant clash

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

“Right now, there’s more pres­sure within the group. It’s do or die, now or never, I sup­pose,” Re­tal­lick, said. “It would be good just to go to Satur­day right now and not have to bother about the rest of the week. But we’ll build well and there are a few things we didn’t get right on at­tack, that we’ll get sorted. There’s a lot rid­ing on it.”

Re­tal­lick, whose mon­u­men­tal ef­fort in the All Blacks’ en­gine room helped New Zealand to a 30-15 vic­tory in the first Test at Eden Park, said the Lions had raised the phys­i­cal­ity stakes in game two.

“The phys­i­cal­ity and in­ten­sity of the first two matches have been huge,” he added.

“Es­pe­cially on their be­half, I thought they were a lot more phys­i­cal and con­fronta­tional than in week one.

“We need to sort that out and make sure we’re go­ing back at it this Satur­day be­cause we can’t let it hap­pen again.”

Half-back Smith was also itch­ing to get back out on to the pitch.

“It’s what you play rugby for, these big games,” he said.

“I could play to­day, that’s how ready I am. These are the ones you re­mem­ber and it’s go­ing to be a long week in prep but it’ll all be worth it if we get the pro­cesses right to go out and play our brand of footy.”

Smith praised the ef­fort of his pack af­ter they were forced to face up to the Lions with a man down for 55 min­utes af­ter the per­son­nel reshuf­fle in the wake of the dis­missal of Sonny Bill Wil­liams.

He said the All Blacks, held try-less in a Test for the first time since 2014, had been “dis­ap­pointed” with fail­ing to do bet­ter in un­leash­ing their at­tack. “They re­ally fronted up on de­fence and closed up that tight space,” he added. “We didn’t re­act well to that. There was ac­tu­ally a lot more space than we thought and we maybe didn’t adapt as well as hoped.

“We usu­ally find a way and our bench comes on and fin­ishes re­ally strong but that’s all about learn­ing. There are op­por­tu­ni­ties there and they’ll be there Satur­day, so we’ve got to be good enough to see them and take them.”

The sides will name their re­spec­tive teams on Thurs­day. – Reuters

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