Yes, the All Blacks are on a revenge mission

The All Blacks are being portrayed as a team embarrassed by the Chicago defeat and going to extraordinary lengths to set the matter right in Dublin on Sunday.

While a typically downbeat All Black camp has tried to portray a business-as-usual-with-an-edge image, the Mailonline is not letting them get away with that.

Prop Owen Franks may have rejected the notion that the All Blacks were on a revenge mission, but the Mail - rated the world's biggest news site - firmly rejected that in the words accompanying a hefty training ground photo spread.

And there is a different feel to the preparations in Dublin compared to Chicago where the All Blacks were spotted out and about with fans, attended other sport and fulfilled sponsor obligations.

They were subsequently crushed by a brilliantly prepared Irish team which landed late on what turned out to be a famous smash and grab mission.

The All Blacks will have been given a serious tune up in Dublin, even if they publicly concentrate on the fine tuning aspect.

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"The All Blacks have been based at the Westmanstown Sports Complex and have been spending every waking hour out on the pitch," the Mail enthused.

"Steve Hansen and his New Zealand side have been working hard this week, getting down to the grind to ensure the embarrassment at Soldier Field does not happen again...as the world champions go about trying to reclaim lost pride.

"Ireland coach (Joe) Schmidt has already admitted he is expecting to experience the full wrath of the All Blacks as they seek to make amends."

One of the captions read: "New Zealand have been working hard this week as they seek revenge against Ireland." An earlier story described Sunday's match as "a revenge mission".

The Mail is undoubtedly on the mark about revenge, even if the All Blacks have scrubbed the word from their whiteboard.

In the latest All Black press conference, star lock Brodie Retallick said "with the winning record we had this year it hurts when we lose but it's not about redemption...we want a bit of respect back."

All Blacks coach Hansen has also underplayed the retribution aspect.

"We've got 18 new players from last year's World Cup squad, but the group is just starting out and so far they've done really well," he said.

"They tasted defeat in our last game, so it will be interesting to see how they grow from that."

Grow? The All Blacks' pre-match tactics are obvious: they don't want to give Ireland any unnecessary ammunition. But no matter what the All Blacks say in public, the sports world is expecting a furious backlash.

- NZ Herald

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