Gregor Paul

Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

ABs out for emphatic victory

All Black captain Richie McCaw talks to media ahead of tonight's test. Photo / Getty Images
All Black captain Richie McCaw talks to media ahead of tonight's test. Photo / Getty Images

The source of the All Blacks motivation for 'Bledisloe Three' has been a theme all week. The notion of the test being a dead rubber hasn't bounced - that notion has been squashed hard, gone splat.

The All Blacks have reaffirmed that any test is a serious business. They have talked of their desire to provide Keven Mealamu with a win on his 100th appearance and they have have talked of the need to keep their own standards high.

All valid factors and all in the melting pot to ensure tonight's clash is intense and relentless. But there is one factor that hasn't really been aired and probably for good reason: the All Blacks would rather like to make an emphatic victory for the sheer joy of crushing the Wallabies.

Some of the acerbic, ill-feeling that had brewed last year between these two teams has eased, but still, it would be fair to the All Blacks aren't huge admirers of their foe.

Ill-feeling is less - but not eradicated while most of this All Black side have been around for long enough to know that Australia won't be this weak forever.

The Wallabies will come again - rugby is cyclical so teams always have to make sure they capitalise when they can. Periods of dominance are just that, periods and in time the Wallabies may strike a similar hot streak to the one the All Blacks are on and it's doubtful they would take their foot of the throat should they find themselves in such a position.

All Black captain Richie McCaw knows this better than anyone, but while he is determined for his side to produce a high impact performance that leaves the Wallabies in pieces, he's not driven by any personal animosity.

He's aware of the pressure his old coach, Robbie Deans is under, and there is an element of sympathy for him.

"I suppose you don't want to make the job any easier when you come up against him," said McCaw.

"But I have a lot of respect for Robbie and the things he has done over the years. He has certainly helped me along the way and just because you want to go out and beat his team it doesn't mean you think any less of him as a man.

"We'll have a beer afterwards hopefully."

And it's a beer that McCaw is confident will carry the extra taste of victory. To his mind the All Blacks have prepared well - the key to everything they do - and are in the right frame of mind and physical state to perform at the level they expect.

"I think we have done a pretty good job up until this point," says McCaw.

"The boys are in pretty good shape and have trained well. We just have to put the performance out there now. The last thing you want to do is let your standards slip and we are prepared for a big test."

- Herald on Sunday

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf01 at 24 Oct 2014 02:26:15 Processing Time: 446ms