Image: New Zealand’s All Blacks captain Richie McCaw walks off the pitch after congratulating Australia’s Wallabies players on their Bledisloe Cup rugby win in Sydney, August 8, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray
(Reuters) – All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has downplayed his own personal milestone ahead of the Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia on Saturday and wants his side just to win the game.
The 34-year-old openside flanker will become the most capped player in international rugby at Eden Park when he makes his 142nd appearance, moving past Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll.
McCaw joined O’Driscoll on 141 caps last week in a match the All Blacks lost 27-19 to the Wallabies in Sydney, giving Stephen Moore’s side the opportunity to lift the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy for the first time since they lost it in 2003.
“One thing I haven’t allowed is to get caught up in that because I really wanted to train as well as I could to play well on Saturday,” McCaw told reporters at Eden Park on Friday when asked about becoming the most capped player in test rugby.
“When you have that focus you don’t get caught up in those what-might-be’s. I want to enjoy playing here and when you have a loss like last week it makes you want to play even more.
“The key is to let it fuel you, obviously, coming off a poor performance but just that in itself isn’t going to make it work.
“We have to do things right this week and I think we have to this point.”
The All Blacks played poorly in Sydney, where they missed tackles, were error prone and staid in attack and came under pressure at the scrum, an area they have dominated the Wallabies in recent years.
Fullback Ben Smith added the team had been brutally honest about what they needed to do to ensure they retained the Bledisloe Cup for another season.
“We’ve had a good review, and looked at ways to get better,” he told reporters in Auckland.
“As players a big thing for us is doing our analysis, and taking on the coaches’ feedback so we really look at our own performance and make sure we are making the right strides as far as adapting and learning from the last match.
“If we want to improve then sometimes we’ve just got to use our instincts to see what’s in front of us and just play rugby really. It’s a pretty simple thing.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
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