It's not about revenge.

That's the claim from tighthead prop Owen Franks as the All Blacks prepare to face their demons against Ireland on Sunday.

The stoic 88-test front rower became a headline act after leading the way in an initial press conference in Dublin.

The rugby world is expecting a furious reaction to defeat from the All Blacks. They should be bolstered by the return of their great locks and definitely motivated by their status as the first New Zealand team to lose to Ireland. But Franks was playing the modern professional card.


"I wouldn't say revenge," Franks told reporters.

"The dominant team on the day (in Chicago) deserved their win. Any time you don't perform, don't put your best effort out there, it is more for yourself. It wasn't Ireland's fault that we played bad."

"I haven't thought about it in that sort of detail, I haven't thought about the burden of it. I guess it is the sign of the times, of professional rugby; Ireland train just like us every day, to be better. To see them improve is awesome for them.

"We are used to criticism and getting the finger pointed at us. In a high performance environment where you got a heap of guys who want to be the best they can be it is always going to be a critical review whether you have lost or played your best, even when you are winning it is pretty much the same."

Predictions are that Sam Whitelock will return from a leg injury to partner Brodie Retallick, who played against Italy after a concussion break. All Blacks management sent replacement lock Vaea Fifita home yesterday which also points to a Whitelock return.

Whitelock said they had just undergone a "good honest review" of the defeat in Chicago "rather than going sideways with it."

"First of all I have to get selected...I have to get through a few things I haven't done yet, full live scrums is one of them," Whitelock said.

"There are a lot of things we got to improve from Chicago. (Lineouts) is one of them. We got to be aware of it but we can't be obsessed with it.

"We are going to come up with a good plan and go from there."