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All Black minds on job as final Test nears

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/11/2016 Angelo Risso

After 13 Tests and a gruelling Super Rugby season, All Blacks players would be forgiven for daydreaming of the beach ahead of Saturday's final Test against France.

But lock Brodie Retallick has warned his teammates against complacency as they gear up for a French outfit still smarting from their 2015 World Cup humiliation.

The All Blacks thrashed a diabolical French outfit 62-13 in that Cardiff quarter-final, banishing the demons of 2007 and going on to claim back-to-back titles.

But having just come off a bruising win over Ireland in Dublin, the world champions are certain they'll face a much tougher Les Blues, who pushed Australia all the way last week.

"If the shoe was on the other foot, we'd still be hurting and we wouldn't forget that quickly," Retallick told reporters on Monday.

"They'd like to upset the All Blacks again and I've got no doubt it'll probably be in the back of their mind and something they'll touch on."

The 25-year-old's absence was sorely felt in the All Blacks' surprise loss to Ireland in Chicago, before returning against Italy and in Dublin with aplomb.

Retallick made 17 tackles against the Irish and helped, alongside locking partner Sam Whitelock, to neutralise the vaunted Irish set-piece and driving maul.

But with revenge successfully served, the Chiefs ace said every All Black would now have to keep their feet on the ground and their heads out of the clouds.

They would need to produce more in attack and give away far fewer penalties than the 14 they conceded in Dublin to claim a final victory.

"If you look at teams that have come to New Zealand at the back end of their season, or previous tours, it's easy to start thinking about hopping on the plane," the 204cm Retallick said.

"The summer will be a lot more enjoyable getting on the plane with a win than with a loss."

Hooker Dane Coles agreed, saying the whole side wanted to finish off a near-flawless campaign - tarnished only by their loss in Chicago - on the right note.

Each time his mind wandered off to the beach or holidays with the family, Coles brought it straight back to the present, and the need to prepare well.

This was especially important in a city full of distractions such as Paris.

"We want to finish off the tour with a performance we can be proud of, we know it's a bit of a trek but we've talked about that, it's about us leading every day," the Hurricanes skipper said.

"You've got to bring yourself back to the moment."

Meanwhile, the London disciplinary hearings of Malakai Fekitoa and Sam Cane, cited for tackles in Dublin, has been postponed to Tuesday.

Head coach Steve Hansen, who admitted Fekitoa's tackle was reckless but intends to defend Cane, will be in attendance.

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