McCaw: Waratahs win will spur Wallabies

BEN STRANG
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2014
Waikato Times

As the All Blacks prepare for the upcoming Rugby Championship test against Australia a small group of players visited Rotorua and dropped in on Liam Messam's high school.

Richie McCaw
MIKE SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
DANCE DATE: Lynmore Primary pupil Gisele Howard, 10, drags All Blacks captain Richie McCaw up for a dance in Rotorua.

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All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is expecting the Waratahs Super Rugby win to spur on the Wallabies during next weekend's Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.

Returning to the same venue in which his Crusaders succumbed to a last minute Bernard Foley penalty in the Super Rugby final, McCaw is expecting the Waratahs' win to spark the Wallabies.

He said the Waratahs played with confidence and energy, and that should flow into the Australian squad.

"Without a doubt. A lot of those guys who played last Saturday will be in the Wallabies," he said.

"There's no doubt, you come off a successful campaign, you feel confident. I think that's how a lot of the Waratahs have played, with a fair bit of confidence, but you've got to remember test rugby is quite different.

"What happened last week will be quite different to what happens in 10 days time."

McCaw was joined by Brodie Retallick, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and hometown hero Liam Messam in Rotorua yesterday, spending time at Rotorua Boys' High School and with fans in the central city.

Messam agreed with McCaw that Australia would be on a high next weekend, but said it doesn't concern the All Blacks.

"It's something we won't worry about, but it's something we'll talk about," Messam said.

"They'll definitely be riding high on that confidence that the Waratahs won, so it should be a good game.

"It's always difficult to play the Wallabies in Sydney. All we can do is prepare the best that we can as a team, and head over there and try and do the job."

The New Zealand Super Rugby conference was closer than ever this season, with three teams making it through to the playoffs.

All Blacks players were in good form during the later stages of the competition, and the Crusaders were within a minute of winning their eighth Super Rugby title before Foley struck for the Waratahs.

McCaw said it was good to have players in form playing Super Rugby, but when it comes to the All Blacks and international rugby, everybody steps it up a gear.

"It is a different beast playing test rugby compared to Super Rugby, so just thinking, 'guys are going OK so we can just front up and it'll be fine', you've got to go back and work on the things that are important for test rugby and get it together for next weekend, because the Wallabies will certainly be doing that."

McCaw said returning to the scene of the Crusaders agonising defeat to the Waratahs won't be an issue for New Zealand's Cantabrian contingent.

"It's always tough [in Sydney], I've never had an easy one over there. I enjoy playing at that stadium. I'm just looking forward to getting into it."

The All Blacks head into next weekend's match looking to bring up a tier-one record 18th straight victory.

Wallabies vice-captain James Slipper said this week that his team "don't really care" about the record, and haven't paid any attention to it.

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"If we get ahead of ourselves and talk about how we're going to end their world record winning streak, we're doing what we do every year, which is talk them up," Slipper said.

McCaw said the All Blacks are in the same camp, and that the winning streak is "the byproduct of going and performing and playing well".

"I'd say the same thing. You focus on what you can control and that's your own camp."

- Waikato Times

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