Bledisloe, improving on perfection are motivators
WELLINGTON – The All Blacks won plaudits for the near perfect first half they played to rout Australia in their Rugby Championship opener last week, though captain Kieran Read has hammered into his team the need to improve even further.
The world champions raced to a 32-3 lead by halftime at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, before they eventually completed a 42-8 victory.
Read, however, was mindful the Wallabies would be motivated to ensure they did not produce such an inept performance in the return clash and slump to a 19th successive loss in New Zealand, a run stretching back to 2001.
It would also be their sixth successive loss in all internationals since the 2015 World Cup semi-final triumph over Argentina.
“It’s never easy backing up a great performance… (and) it’s a big test any time we play Australia,” Read told reporters at Wellington Regional Stadium on Friday. “So we are looking to go out there and… stamp our mark on the game early and then work our way back into it. “Otherwise it’s one hell of a night and we don’t come out on the right side of it.”
The All Blacks have spoken all week about how hard they are working to not fall into a ‘we’ve got this’ mindset before the game kicks off and Read said that his side had identified areas that were far from perfect last week. Too many passes were knocked on, or did not go to hand.
Injuries and backline reshuffles ensured there was less fluency in the second half, while there were uncharacteristic fumbles underneath the high ball — a tactic they expected to encounter again on Saturday. “Our control of the ball needs to be a lot better,” Read said. “We probably coughed up a little too much pill in the second half last week. -Reuters