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AB skipper Read bracing for Aust challenge

NZN 5/08/2016 Angelo Risso

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read thinks the poor form of Australian Super Rugby sides will have no bearing on the Wallabies' Rugby Championship performance.

The Brumbies were the sole Australian side to play in the Super Rugby finals series, qualifying as winners of the Australian conference.

But the Canberra-based team were bundled out by the Highlanders in the quarter-finals.

Read, 30, told reporters on Friday his side would be expecting the strongest possible Australian outfit in Sydney on August 20.

The Wallabies upset the All Blacks to win the Rugby Championship in 2015 but not a single player in coach Michael Cheika's 33-man squad has ever won the Bledisloe Cup.

New Zealand has not lost since that Rugby Championship decider 12 months ago.

"A Test team is different to a Super Rugby team," Read said.

"In the past, when NZ teams haven't played well in Super Rugby, we've still performed.

"It's important to get off to a really good start."

Assistant coach Ian Foster concurred, saying he had never encountered a dispirited Australian outfit in his coaching career.

Players like halfback Will Genia, wingers Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper and veteran second-five Matt Giteau would be baying for blood.

"We're preparing for a team at the level they got to at the World Cup, and they beat us in Sydney," Foster said.

"There's enough facts there to hang our hat on."

All Blacks and Hurricanes flyer Julian Savea will start Saturday's Super Rugby final from the bench after a season marked by poor form.

However Foster said the 25-year-old, who has been picked for the Rugby Championship, is in good condition and just needs a little luck.

"I'd like to see all the hard work he's putting in off the park be reflected on the park," Foster said.

"He's actually in great shape, looking good, he just needs some things to stick."

The All Blacks will complete a two-day training camp on Friday before regrouping next week for two 40-minute preparatory matches against Northland and Counties Manukau.

They will fly to Australia next Sunday.

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