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Richie McCaw urges All Blacks to clean up act

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 17:18 05/09/2014
Stuff.co.nz

The All Blacks are not taking the Argentine challenge lightly in Napier and want to improve on their previous stellar performance against Australia.

Richie McCaw
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RICHIE MCCAW: A former Wallabies No 8 claims the All Blacks captain is past his prime, along with prop Tony Woodcock.

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Yellow cards have been an unwanted feature of the All Blacks' recent tests and Richie McCaw says enough is enough.

The All Blacks captain was one of the chief offenders when the All Blacks belted the Wallabies 51-20 at Eden Park a fortnight ago, having been sent to the sin-bin by French referee Romain Poite for needlessly playing the ball on the ground.

Ben Franks also copped a yellow card in the Auckland match and Wyatt Crockett and Beauden Barrett took an enforced rest against the Aussies in the first Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney.

Crockett started this sequence by getting a yellow when the All Blacks met England in the final match of the three-test series against England in Hamilton in June.

Not surprisingly the New Zealanders were eager to clean up their act in tomorrow night's test against Argentina in Napier.

"Well I was at the top of that list wasn't I?'' a sheepish McCaw said when the subject of discipline was raised after the All Blacks' captain's run at McLean Park this afternoon.

"We have certainly addressed that. It is just easy to let a team off by first of all giving away a penalty and, then, if you are down to 14 [men] it makes it pretty tough.''

The All Blacks have acknowledged they know little about referee Pascal Gauzere and although all teams consistently look to push the laws in the breakdowns and with their fast defensive line, McCaw will caution his men against testing the Frenchman's patience.

Given the way they tore apart the Wallabies at Eden Park the All Blacks are hot-favourites to send the Pumas packing in front of around 22,000 fans.

When the team assembled last weekend the squad were urged to not get overwhelmed by the praise that had been heaped upon them following that emphatic victory.

 "We made sure when we came in on Sunday that our feet were firmly on the ground,'' McCaw emphasised. "The toughest thing in sport is to back it up and hopefully we have had a week's prep were the guys are in a frame of mind so that we can and perform well again.''

The rain that drenched Hawke's Bay earlier in the week has stayed away for the last couple of days and if the track remains dry it would help the All Blacks' promote their running game.

However, showers and a southerly are forecast for tomorrow which is expected to force a rethink.

McCaw only had to cast his mind back to last month's 12-12 draw in Sydney to understand how easy it is to get bogged down in the wet conditions.

"What we learned in Sydney is our skills let us down and allowed the Aussies to put pressure on us.''

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