McCaw still smarting from Super Rugby loss
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw arrived in Sydney on Thursday night still smarting from the Crusaders' Super Rugby final loss to the NSW Waratahs and craving Bledisloe Cup redemption.
It was McCaw's last-minute ruck infringement that allowed Bernard Foley to boot the Waratahs to a famous 33-32 victory at ANZ Stadium 12 days ago.
The game's most-decorated player admitted it was nice to be back so soon for an opportunity to atone at the same venue on Saturday night with the stakes even higher.
"Just from a personal point of view, being over here a couple of weeks ago for Super Rugby, to get a chance to come back, have a crack at Bledisloe is pretty exciting," McCaw said.
"It's going to be a good challenge. I think we always realised that, so we're looking forward to it."
Before leaving New Zealand earlier on Thursday, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he was "dumbfounded" by Kurtley Beale's selection at five-eighth ahead of Foley.
McCaw wasn't quite as surprised.
"It was always going to be either/or really," said the champion flanker.
"I thought Foley might have been there after what he's done in Super Rugby but Beale's played pretty well, especially in the final a couple of weeks ago.
"It doesn't change things a whole lot from what we want to do. Our goal is to give him as little ball as possible.
"So if we can do that, we'll be happy."
While the Wallabies completed a 3-0 sweep of France, the All Blacks whitewashed England in their three-Test June series.
But McCaw says the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship will be another step up for both sides.
"They're like us. They had three Tests in June that went alright - three wins - but now with the season ahead, everyone wants to get off to a good start," he said.
"So we certainly need to improve from where we were at and I'm sure from what you hear from the Wallabies, they need to do the same.
"That makes for a pretty good match-up over the next couple of weeks."
Ever the stirrer, Hansen delivered an entertaining encore to his provocative pre-departure media conference - when he suggested Wallabies counterpart Ewen McKenzie might have been under instructions to pick Beale to help keep the off-contract star in Australian rugby - after his team's low-key arrival at Sydney Airport.
The All Blacks will only have one training session, Friday's captain's run, in Australia before attempting to secure a world-record 18th straight Test win.
"It's only a three-hour flight and we're just small cousins from across the ditch," Hansen said.
"We get to train at home in our own environment. It's something that Super sides do and we're used to coming over late."