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Ireland clash a defining moment: Read

NZN 18/11/2016 Angelo Risso

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read says his side may just look back at Saturday's Test against Ireland as a defining moment in the post-World Cup era.

Outplayed by the Irish 40-29 in Chicago two weeks ago, the world champions have the chance to exact revenge in this weekend's rematch after thumping Italy in Rome.

Their mission has been made much easier by the return of locking duo Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, who will help shore up a wobbly set-piece.

However Ireland have also been boosted by the recovery of gun loose forward Sean O'Brien from a hamstring complaint.

Read told reporters the match would almost certainly be his side's toughest of the year, given the need to make a statement after Chicago.

The defeat was also Read's first as Test captain and brought a record 18-game winning streak to an end.

"Certainly the loss magnifies this game and puts it into a massive perspective," Read said.

"It's certainly a challenge that makes guys a little bit uncomfortable, how to deal with that, and in some ways you might look back on this one as a defining moment."

There's no shortage of motivation for the All Blacks as they gear up for their second-last Test of the year, with the Chicago loss compounded by earthquakes at home.

The first anniversary of legendary winger Jonah Lomu's death had also been discussed among the group, with Read labelling the Kiwi wrecking ball one of his favourite players.

The side could do Lomu justice by playing to a standard befitting the black jersey and by producing a cool and clinical performance.

"We've got a good recipe, I know the boys have prepared as well as they can and it's a game we're really excited about," the 31-year-old Read said.

"This is what you play the game for, these moments and these stadiums."

Both sides go into the clash on the back of straight-forward Test wins, having cruised past Canada and Gli Azzurri respectively last weekend.

Read said the 68-10 victory in Rome, carried out mostly by All Blacks fringe players, had set the benchmark for the side's returning stars.

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