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All Blacks props confident of muscling up

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017 Daniel Gilhooly
Kieran Read leads the New Zealand All Blacks in a pre-match Haka © Rex Images Kieran Read leads the New Zealand All Blacks in a pre-match Haka

Two unsung All Blacks heroes from the first Test win over the British and Irish Lions don't think a change of referee should halt their scrum success.

Moments after their double injection off the bench in the 54th minute, New Zealand reserve props Wyatt Crockett and Charlie Faumuina turned the game.

The All Blacks sent the Lions skating backwards, setting up the Test's most pivotal try to winger Rieko Ioane.

Starting props Owen Franks and Joe Moody had given the hosts an advantage in the set piece until that point.

It was finished off in style over the closing quarter, emphasising the physical dominance that was the difference between the teams.

It was a far cry from the difficulties the All Blacks-laden Crusaders tight five had earlier in the tour against the Lions, when they were heavily penalised by French referee Mathieu Raynal.

Two other whistlers from France will control the remaining Tests - Jerome Garces in Wellington this Saturday and Roman Poite in Auckland next week.

There are some suggestions from commentators that the Lions will benefit again from northern hemisphere refereeing interpretations, with South African referee Jaco Peyper having had taken a "southern slant" into his scrum rulings.

Crockett played down those concerns.

"As long as we stick to our processes and do our things really well, then we'll take the referee out of it and hopefully he won't have too much of an influence," the veteran loosehead said.

"If there's something that's not working, then we can adapt on the track."

Crockett described himself as "reasonably happy" with the scrummaging, which they had spent plenty of time on in the build-up to the series.

He said some extra work was spent focusing on how England perform as an eight, with English assistant Graham Rowntree the Lions scrum guru.

Faumuina says he will be content to provide the same sort of platform this weekend.

The 30-year-old Blues tighthead is in the dying weeks of his New Zealand career, having signed to play for three seasons with French giants Toulouse.

He isn't letting it distract him from the task at hand.

"I don't think differently. Every time you put the black jersey on, it's something special," he said.

"You just try to enjoy it, the last few games I guess in this country."

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