The All Blacks' new loose forward combination will require few significant adjustments according to No8 and skipper Kieran Read, who has called on his side to dig deep in order to find the performance to shut the Wallabies out of the Bledisloe Cup for another year.

The Read, Ardie Savea and Sam Cane trio should bring a quick, dynamic and aggressive edge to the All Blacks pack at what will be a sold-out Optus Stadium in Perth tonight.

But for Read, determined to celebrate the life of former All Blacks No8 and skipper Sir Brian Lochore in the appropriate manner, the changes in terms of tactics and approach have been kept to a minimum.

"It's gelled really well - we've been playing for a number of years now and have probably been on the field [together] over those years," Read said of the combination which has never started a test together. "It's been awesome to play with those guys; they're in great form.


"They've been in the mix for at least the last four years. We spend a lot of time together. It's not much of a difference, but certainly it's exciting for us all to be on the field.

"Obviously Ardie's strengths are at the breakdown and so are Sam's. I think every individual brings their own personal strength but the way we're going to play isn't going to change no matter who is on the field."

All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

Improving combinations has been a theme this week after two scratchy performances against the Pumas and Springboks thus far. But for Read, speaking after putting the finishing touches on the week's preparation at this extremely impressive new stadium, it's all coming together only a few weeks out from the World Cup.

"A couple more weeks under our belt as a team [will help because] the combinations have been in some ways new," he said by way of mitigation. "We know the Wallabies will be very strong. It doesn't just happen for us here, we know we have to turn up and have the right attitude because that's what wins test matches."

Asked about the Wallabies' desperation to keep their Bledisloe Cup dream alive after last holding the famous old trophy in 2002, he said: "I think they've had the fire in their belly for the last few years definitely. They'll certainly have that again … we can't just rest on what we've done over those years, it's important we re-set and play as well as we can. I've said it before, in these games you can't just rely on your skills, it's your mental fortitude and how you turn up and how you want to be physical. It's important for us to do that again."

Asked about the stadium which is preparing to play host to more than 60,000, including at least 10,000 from outside Western Australia, Read said: "It's impressive. It's going to be awesome to run out here in front of a full house. I know there are plenty of Kiwis here in Perth so we're pretty excited about seeing a few black jerseys in the crowd as well."

And as for Sir Brian, a legendary All Black and New Zealander whose life was celebrated in Masterton on Thursday, Read said: "He was always a special man to talk to – very humble and grateful for the opportunities he was given. For me it's going to be extra special."