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All Blacks bracing for vengeful Wallabies

NZN 14/08/2016 By Angelo Risso

All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino says he expects to grapple with a vengeful Australian outfit in next week's Rugby Championship opener.

The two sides will meet in Sydney for the first time since last year's World Cup final at Twickenham, which New Zealand claimed 34-17.

New Zealand have since achieved a Test series whitewash over Wales in June, while Australia were on the reverse of an English clean sweep on their own patch.

Kaino, 33, expected the Wallabies' line-up to mirror that which ran out at Twickenham last October.

They would be seeking revenge for their defeat.

"You look at their team, a lot of them played in that final, so I think they'll use a bit of that as motivation," Kaino said.

"They'll be firing to get into us."

The All Blacks fly to Sydney on Sunday afternoon in an attempt to acclimatise to Australian conditions ahead of Saturday's kick-off.

The world champions suffered a surprise 27-19 away loss to the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship decider 12 months ago and a 12-12 draw in 2014.

Kaino said the extra time on Australian soil would be beneficial.

"There's a big gap between Super Rugby and Test level and that extra week with the team gives us time to prepare well and get our mindset and attitude right," he said.

"It's a harder place to play for us because they've got a lot more support."

Halfback Aaron Smith, who is vying for a starting berth with fellow No.9s TJ Perenara and Tawera Kerr-Barlow, said the time spent together was positive.

He had been refreshed by the new challenge after his Highlanders side was bundled out of the Super Rugby semi-finals by the Lions.

"I guess it's all about refreshing, getting your head around the All Blacks' game again," the 27-year-old Smith said.

"I was really excited about coming in here and there's no better challenge than playing Australia in Australia.

"You're always thankful to hear your name being read out, with the thought of pulling on that black jersey again."

The side warmed up for their bout in Sydney with victories against Northland and Counties-Manukau in a three-way friendly in Pukekohe on Friday.

The side scored more than 100 points in the two 40-minute games.

Meanwhile, head coach Steve Hansen has elected to bring Crusaders loose forward Matt Todd and Chiefs prop Kane Hames to Sydney as injury cover.

Incumbent All Blacks Sam Cane and Joe Moody are suffering from concussion and a neck injury respectively, and are yet to prove their fitness.

Hooker Dane Coles will also travel with the squad despite a rib complaint.

Lock Luke Romano and loose forward Elliot Dixon have been left in New Zealand, as has Chiefs rookie Damian McKenzie.


Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Kane Hames, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read (C), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Matt Todd.

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Anton Lienert-Brown, George Moala, Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

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