Gregor Paul

Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

All Blacks: McCaw uninterested in mind games

All this business about whether the Wallabies not talking then talking means something or nothing has kind of passed All Black captain Richie McCaw by.

He'll leave the theorising to the amateur psychologists: they can deliberate and extrapolate meaning, hidden or otherwise. He already knows what he and his side will be facing on Saturday - a fired up, determined and capable Wallaby side. Last week's result won't really matter in the sense that the Australians were always going to be coming to Wellington with only one thought in mind - win the test.

It's never any different. Having won one of three hardly matters in the sense that it will count for nothing if the All Blacks don't back up last week's performance. As McCaw says: "The guys have recovered well and we have had a good week but it doesn't mean anything unless we do the business out on the track.

"The first thing is we were pretty honest about our performance. The scoreboard looked okay but there were things we weren't happy with so we didn't just gloss over them.

"The first couple of days [of training] we tried to rectify those things. The guys who have been around know that if you don't get the preparation right, no matter what happened the week before things can change real quick.''

That's been the message all week - in fact as soon as the game finished in Sydney, McCaw was eager to stress that the biggest challenge in sport is backing up big performances.

The introduction of Tom Taylor doesn't change anything in that regard, said McCaw. While the All Blacks have done what they can to make the new cap's easy, Taylor will be wearing No 10 and have to accept the responsibilities that come with that.

McCaw and his senior leadership can't play the game for their first-five. They have told him all they can, supported Taylor as much as possible but come 7.35pm on Saturday, Taylor needs to be ready. And he needs to be ready because McCaw believes the Wallabies will take things up a gear.

"I think teams that shut up and just get on with things they are dangerous,'' he says. "They are proud men they will come out and get stuck in. They will hoe into things and I know from experience when you play teams from one week to the next there are numerous examples of a week being a long time.''

- Herald on Sunday

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