All Blacks captain Kieran Read has called on his side to play with composure while not stifling their attacking instincts in their first test of the year against Wales at Eden Park tomorrow.

It's a balancing act which Read, who has taken over from Richie McCaw as skipper, will feel the world champions will be capable of fulfilling, but he knows the excitement of playing at their fortress after a long build-up could create difficulties.

"That's going to be key for us, [to not] try too hard early," he said today after his team's captain's run at the venue. "The nature of a test is it's going to be abrasive and they're going to bring a lot of line speed. If we just try to make things happen it might not come off... but we don't want to stifle what we have in this team either.

"It's pretty exciting - the guys are ready to get out on the field. It's a long build up for us - two weeks heading into this game, so ... we can't wait."


Read, who has 84 caps, has waited a long time to step into McCaw's leadership boots, and admitted it felt slightly different from the eve of past tests.

"It does. I think the whole group feels a bit different, naturally. But we know what's ahead of us. It's a test match... and it's going to be one by inches and us going out there and doing our best. Certainly it's a good feel within the group."

He added that Wales, second in this year's Six Nations to England, who beat the English in their World Cup pool game, had changed their game over the years.

"They've probably got better skillsets than whenever it was I first came in," said Read, who made his debut in 2008. "Their natural game is abrasive and physical and taking you on up front so that's probably what we're expecting."