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Crockett says subs know they have key job

NZN 13/06/2016

All Blacks prop Wyatt Crockett says all players want to be starters, but those on the bench know they have a key role in the outcome of Test matches.

New Zealand's reserves were a major factor in their 39-21 over Wales in the first Test in Auckland on Saturday night.

The home side trailed at half-time and again early in the second half, before pulling away with three tries in the final quarter.

Both teams used their full set of substitutes, with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen going to his bench as early as the 43th minute, when Beauden Barrett went to fullback, replacing wing Julian Savea in a rejigged back three.

Crockett came on five minutes later, taking over at loosehead from Joe Moody.

"When we're injected into the game, we obviously want to bring a bit of intensity and try to lift the tempo of the game," Crockett said on Monday.

"Being fresh, we just want to come on and do our role, not go about doing any of the flashy stuff, but just be as seamless as possible and add that little bit of impact as well."

The Test was the 33-year-old Crockett's 46th, half of which have been as a replacement.

"Obviously we all want to start; there's no hiding from that," he said.

"At the same time, we know we have a really important role, because games are won in the last 30 minutes - generally the tough Test matches, the tight ones.

"When we're out there, it's game on and we can make a big impact. That's our mindset."

Blindside flanker Jerome Kaino, who played the full 80 minutes at Eden Park, said the All Blacks saw their bench as a point of difference.

He welcomed the way those players were able to push their teammates through the closing stages.

"A lot of the guys that came on injected a bit of energy, a bit of voice," he said.

"It gets you past that `this is hard' hump. It's a huge boost for us guys that start the game and are still there in the final quarter."

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