All Blacks believe record is in their grasp

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The All Blacks have been here before, on the verge of a record 18th straight Test win, but captain Kieran Read says Saturday night will be different.

In 2012, the Wallabies snuffed out their record chance with a draw in Brisbane, and they hit 17 in a row again in 2014, but the team has embraced the looming mark.

The All Blacks were focused at their captain's run. Photo: Getty ImagesRead has been part of teams that have fallen short of the milestone in the past and said they realised that they were only one-half of the equation when it came to surpassing th

“I think we’ve learned that it isn’t just another game, I guess,” he said.

“When you’ve got something on the line oppositions raise their game and we’ve got to certainly raise ours.

“That’s probably the biggest lesson. There’s a little bit extra, so that’s extra for both teams.

“It’s not just our record, it’s the Australians who have got to try and stop us from making it.

"It’s going to put  a bit of extra spice on it but we’re pretty glad we’re here at Eden park, looking forward to a home crowd and running our in front of them tomorrow night.”

Matt Todd signing autographs at Eden Park on Friday. Photo: Getty ImagesThat they haven’t shied away from talking about the possibility of winning 18 Tests in a row, Read said, had been a weight off their minds.

“I think it’s  a great thing from a mental point of view that we’ve acknowledged what’s at stake,” he said.

“Australians surely know what’s at stake as well and I’m sure they’ll come here with as much attitude to try and knock us off.

“It’s got to be our preparation and our work that’s going to win this game on Saturday night, it’s not going to be us thinking it’s just going to happen.

“The work’s been done, I’m sure we’re going to be al fired up to come tomorrow night and get into it.”

The All Blacks have dropped a Bledisloe bombshell. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Wallabies left it until Friday afternoon to name their team, a day later than usual, but Read said it mattered little when their opponents made those calls.

“We focus on ourselves most weeks and on a week like this, there’s only so many options they could bring,” he said.

“We want to just focus on what we can do and  when we do that really well our preparation is the thing that gets us over the line on Saturday nights.”

Aside from the extra element added with New Zealand’s winning streak, Read said he expected a different Wallabies side from that which travelled to Wellington and hosted them in Sydney.

“They’re playing a better brand of footy, they’ve found a better way to attack, using the ball a lot better.

“Their number eight is a strong ball carrier so it gives them a bit of go forward and we know how dangerous their backs are. So  we know it’s going to be a tough game.”

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, kicking off at 5:35pm AEDT, preceded by the Wallaroos-Black Ferns clash, kicking off at 3:05pm AEDT.