Henry de­mands more from his All Blacks against Wales

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HAMIL­TON, New Zealand: De­spite amass­ing 108 points in two games against Ire­land and Wales, All Blacks coach Gra­ham Henry ex­pects his side to step up an­other notch in the sec­ond Test against Wales to­day.

While his Wales coun­ter­part War­ren Gat­land will be sat­is­fied if his team can ear n “re­spect” in New Zealand, Henry has set the bar much higher for the fi­nal run-out be­fore the tough Tri-Na­tions se­ries.

Al­though the All Blacks launched an ex­pan­sive counter-at­tack­ing game and scored nine tries in beat­ing Ire­land 66-28 and Wales in the first Test 42-9, Henry was far from sat­is­fied.

“I think we’re prob­a­bly play­ing at about 70 per­cent,” said Henry, who is des­per­ate to re­verse last year’s 0-3 record against arch foes South Africa.

He has made seven changes for the sec­ond Test against Wales to give ev­ery­one game time be­fore nam­ing his Tri-Na­tions squad on Sun­day.

The pos­si­bil­ity of an eighth change evap­o­rated af­ter ace fly­half Dan Carter ran freely at train­ing yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing ham­pered by a calf strain ear­lier in the week.

One of the All Blacks’ biggest fail­ings has been an in­abil­ity to start strongly.

They strug­gled to a 15-9 lead at half­time in the first Test against Wales be­fore pulling away in the sec­ond half, and cap­tain Richie McCaw ex­pects an­other in­tensely phys­i­cal start by the Red Dragons.

“Early in the game they got stuck in and we were on the back foot so we’ve got to make sure we match it from the start,” he said af­ter the All Blacks rounded off prepa­ra­tions.

“They’re go­ing to be a team that’s hurt­ing and they’re go­ing to climb in so I’ll just be happy with a good per­for­mance that’s a win.”

McCaw added the Tri-Na­tions fac­tor was also weigh­ing on his side and “that adds a bit of an edge, and that’s a great thing. “Hope­fully it lifts the stan­dard.” The spot­light is on three All Blacks in par­tic­u­lar – full­back Mils Mu­li­aina and lock Tom Don­nelly start af­ter limited club play fol­low­ing sev­eral months side­lined by in­jury, and Zac Guild­ford gets his chance in the crowded wing berth.

Wales coach Gat­land has made only two changes, in­clud­ing rel­e­gat­ing 90-Test vet­eran Stephen Jones to the bench in favour of 20-year-old Dan Big­gar in what was seen as a sur­prise move.

But he in­di­cated his backs were not to blame for the first Test loss in Dunedin as he pointed to a for­ward pack un­able to keep pace with the All Blacks as the game pro­gressed.

“We wanted to give some of those for­wards an­other op­por­tu­nity.

“It’s a chance for that pack to go out there and re­deem them­selves for a bit longer than they did last week.”

Gat­land was proud with the way his side per­formed for the first 50 min­utes, but said their in­abil­ity to main­tain pace with the All Blacks un­til the fi­nal whis­tle was not good enough.

“What­ever we’ve achieved in the north­ern hemi­sphere as play­ers or as coaches, it doesn’t mean jack here un­less you do some­thing here,” said Gat­land, a for­mer All Blacks hooker in the late 1980s and early 1990s who played his pro­vin­cial rugby for Waikato.

“Un­less you can come to New Zealand and per­form or win, or at least push a team right to the limit, you don’t leave the coun­try with the re­spect of the peo­ple, and that’s im­por­tant to us.”

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