The All Blacks talk of trying to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. But not this week - they have wallowed in their discomfort and used it as their driver.

They like to call it an edge. Head coach Steve Hansen went one step further and called it what it really is - disappointment combined with anger.

There has been no attempt by the All Blacks - individually or collectively - to hide from the fact that they were horrible for a long period in their Chicago test against Ireland.

The players didn't necessarily need that point reinforced or laboured, but it has been.


Hansen, you suspect, has delivered some home truths this week. Not with anger or venom, but with a directness and succinctness that will have left a few players feeling a little uneasy.

This is the crux of a high performance environment - there has to be a depth of honesty for lessons to actually be learned. Which is why, behind closed doors, the All Blacks have probably not lavished praise on Ireland the way they have publicly.

However much Ireland took their chance, the All Blacks feel that they were the primary architects of their own destruction.

"There is no doubt that Ireland had a good performance and they knew how they wanted to play," said Hansen. "But we didn't respond to that. We have had a good look at what we did or didn't do and there is certainly room for improvement.

"On the surface you look at it and say we prepared pretty good. But you have heard me talk about how preparation has to be bone deep and how bone deep was it? Only the individual can tell you but the result tells you it wasn't bone deep.

"You know 16 of the 21 errors we made were avoidable; 12 penalties were avoidable. So if you don't get your attitude right, you don't get to play well and I don't think attitude will be a problem this week."

Hansen's certainty that the players will bring the right attitude this week is based on what he has seen at training, the in-depth knowledge of his players and the beneficial effects that come with losing however much it sucks.

He's also hopeful that having spent the week so far at the secluded Castlenock Hotel, the players have had little in the way of distraction. He can't be sure whether it was a factor in the performance or not, but he does wonder whether the players investing as much as they did supporting the Chicago Cubs in the build up to the Soldier Field test had a negative impact on preparation.

"[The payers were] Spending a lot of time worrying about what the Cubs were doing," says Hansen. "There were five million people at the parade and most of our blokes were there. I don't know if it was or if it wasn't [a contributing factor]. Is that what they normally do on a Friday before a test match? No and you can get caught up in that stuff.

"I am saying it is a possibility that comes into it. Only the individual will be able to tell you that.

"There's a few people who are angry and disappointed in their performances. This group hasn't lost very often - some of them have never lost - and they don't know what it feels like until it happens and when it does, it is a shock to the system.

"I guess it is the same when we all get a bit of a shake up. You come back to work the next day and you are a little bit sharper in your thought processes and you are a bit more honest about how you go around doing your job.

"There is no complacency because there is no room for it. We are playing a team that has shown they are good enough to beat us if we don't show up and play well. There is now an air of we have to really front up and that is not a bad thing."

All Blacks squad to face Ireland:

1. Joe Moody (22)
2. Dane Coles (47)
3. Owen Franks (88)
4. Brodie Retallick (58)
5. Samuel Whitelock (82)
6. Liam Squire (7)
7. Sam Cane (39)
8. Kieran Read - captain (95)
9. Aaron Smith (56)
10. Beauden Barrett (47)
11. Julian Savea (50)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (6)
13. Malakai Fekitoa (22)
14. Israel Dagg (59)
15. Ben Smith (59)

16. Codie Taylor (13)
17. Wyatt Crockett (56)
18. Charlie Faumuina (44)
19. Scott Barrett (2)
20. Ardie Savea (10)
21. TJ Perenara (27)
22. Aaron Cruden (45)
23. Waisake Naholo (10)