New Zealand coach Graham Henry is positive his side can reverse a poor start to the Tri-Nations and still challenge for the title.
The All Blacks have lost two of their three matches in the tournament to date and now need to win their next Test, in Sydney against Australia, to stay in the mix.
The Blacks lost two on the bounce in 2008 but still went on to win the title, and Henry was drawing confidence from that turnaround.
‘We’ve done it before. Really we’ve just got to be positive and work hard and understand where we’ve been and why we’re in this situation and try and rectify that,’ Henry told the media.
The Blacks’ tactical naivety cost them in both Test defeats against the Springboks recently and Henry conceded that they would make changes in that regard, intimating that they would be slightly more conservative.
‘It’ll [the game plan] be different to what it was in South Africa because we’re playing different opposition and they’ve got different strengths and weaknesses,’ he said. ‘So you’re always tinkering with it a wee bit and we’ll tinker with it going into Sydney.’
There also seem to be some personnel changes on the cards. Dan Carter, recalled to the squad after recovering from and Achilles injury, looks set to start at flyhalf, with Luke McAlister at inside centre and Cory Jane running on the right wing. Stephen Donald, Ma’a Nonu and Joe Rokocoko are likely to feel the cold sting of the axe.
Carter was pleased with the progress the side made at their Auckland training camp. ‘I thought the training went extremely well out there on the pitch. It’s a start but once we get over to Sydney we have to keep working on what we did here and keep improving until the game.’
Meanwhile, captain Richie McCaw said there was an intense focus on remedying their troubles at the lineout.
‘Obviously the lineout hasn’t been great the last few weeks. But it’s the little things that when the pressure comes on they show up more and more,’ he noted.
‘We just have to go back to what we have been doing the last couple of years. It’s pretty hard to play when you can’t win your set pieces.’
The All Blacks name a 26-man travelling squad on Saturday night and depart for Sydney on Sunday.