Read tells new All Blacks to keep foot to floor against Wales
WELLINGTON – All Blacks captain Kieran Read had a simple message on Friday for the newcomers to his side ahead of the third test against Wales – don’t expect it to be easy.
Read will lead a much-changed side from the team that clinched the three-match series with a 36-22 victory in Wellington last week, with three players earning their first caps and two others making their second test appearance.
The All Blacks number eight said that while the more inexperienced players were looking to “really rip in”, they had been well-briefed that it would take time to try and grind down the combative visitors.
“You can’t expect to go out and dominate a team right from the word go,” he told reporters in Dunedin on Friday.
“These games are tough, the Welsh make you work for it, so it takes sometimes 45-50 minutes and other times it takes 70 minutes.
“They will back themselves as well, they’ve certainly done that so we’ve got to try to get on top of them a bit quicker than we perhaps have done in the last couple of games.
“I think the boys as a team really want to deliver a great performance to put an exclamation mark on the series.”
One such player looking to put an exclamation mark on the series would be recalled winger Julian Savea, who has been given a vote of confidence by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
A nominee for World Player of the Year for the last two years and scorer of 39 tries in 42 tests, Savea has been off the boil in Super Rugby and was dropped by Wellington Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd for one week.
Hansen repeated that exercise for the second test last week but having recalled him for the match at Otago Regional Stadium, expects him to make an impact.
“I am confident we will get a better performance than we got last time. Am I confident we will get the top drawer one, who knows? But if we do, it will be pretty special,” Hansen said earlier this week.
“I don’t think his position is in doubt whether he is good enough. You don’t go from being one of the greatest wings in the world to not being good enough to make the team.
“We fully understand … that he is not far away from being where we need him to be. Until Saturday comes, we can’t know totally but I am pretty confident we will get something out of him on Saturday.” -Reuters