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Perenara adds zip from All Blacks pine

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/06/2017
TJ Perenara © PA Images TJ Perenara

Huddled together on the Eden Park bench, chatting animatedly, the All Blacks' eight reserves realised they needed to bring one key thing against the British and Irish Lions - energy.

It's fair to say that discussion paid off upon their introduction.

"A lot of the boys on the bench aren't used to being on the bench so I guess we form a little group, where we want to impact the game however we can," reserve halfback TJ Perenara said after his side's 30-15 win.

"You get to see how the game's unfolding, how the other team's operating, how our game plan is beginning to unfold.

"Energy was a big one for us last night - we knew the boys had been working hard out there and it was a physical contest."

Entering the fray with 25 minutes to go, Perenara continued where Aaron Smith left off, sniping around the ruck admirably as the Lions ran out of steam.

He was just one of the Kiwi side's strong performers from the pine, with Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina and Aaron Cruden also producing the goods.

Yet despite having a sustained taste of the No.9 jumper during Smith's personal travails in 2016, Perenara insisted a starting berth wasn't his first priority.

Instead, he just wanted his side - whether the All Blacks or Hurricanes - to win, and win convincingly as they did against the Lions.

They'll have a second crack at the Test selection on Saturday.

"We'd be lying if we said we're content with not starting, but that's not the main thing for me," the 25-year-old said.

"If we go out and we win each game and I play my part in that, whether starting, coming off the bench or holding bags for the week, I'm happy.

"Winning is more important to me than personal success."

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