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Cane promises NZ intensity vs Ireland

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/11/2016 Angelo Risso

All Blacks openside Sam Cane says no punches were pulled as his side dissected last fortnight's loss to Ireland and their avenue to victory on Saturday. © Phil Walter/Getty Images All Blacks openside Sam Cane says no punches were pulled as his side dissected last fortnight's loss to Ireland and their avenue to victory on Saturday. Sam Cane has sat through plenty of All Blacks video reviews since his 2012 Test debut, and even a few awkward ones.

But he's never felt as embarrassed as he did while watching the tape of last fortnight's 40-29 loss to Ireland in Chicago.

The 24-year-old loosie played the full 80 minutes in the Windy City, making a return from a hamstring strain picked up against Argentina two months earlier.

But the influence of the Chiefs co-captain was muted, as his side struggled to contain Ireland's precise kicking game and ruthless set-piece.

It was the first time in 12 years in which the All Blacks conceded 40 points, and came barely weeks after the side had looked so invincible in the Rugby Championship.

Head coach Steve Hansen led the review this Monday, after the side's thumping of Italy was done and dusted, and didn't mince his words.

His message was a simple one - fix your preparation, get mentally prepared, or lose again on Saturday when the two sides meet again.

"When you look at the footage and see it, that's not what we're about and it was pretty poor footy," Cane said.

"There was a certain uncomfortable feeling in the room which is good, because if he's being direct about things, they're not being swept under the carpet."

And it didn't end there, with the coaches spending most of this week instilling an intensity into the squad not seen since last year's second Bledisloe.

That match, at Eden Park in Auckland, came off a surprise loss in the 2015 Rugby Championship decider against Australia and produced a 41-13 spanking.

As the week wore on, that motivational role would transfer from coaches to the All Blacks leadership group, one of whom is Cane.

"The leaders and drivers of the team are starting to take over and drive what we need to, in terms of the preparation," Cane said.

"It's the first time for this certain leadership group, so we'll do everything we can and hopefully respond the way we want to."

Cane will line up in his customary No.7 jumper against Ireland in Dublin, and labelled the chance to make amends for Chicago an honour.

The 189cm ace said he'd look to let the tension slowly build within him over the course of the week, before unleashing that pent-up energy on the Irish.

The revenge mission also doubled up as Cane's 40th Test in the black jumper.

"If there was ever a Test this year that you'd want to be a part of, it's 100 per cent this one," he said.

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