Richie McCaw refuses to view Saturday’s Test in a World Cup context but is nevertheless determined to win in New Zealand’s last home game before the global tournament.
There’s plenty at stake for both teams this Saturday. The Wallabies will want to end a 25-year drought in Auckland, and score their first win on New Zealand soil in a decade. The All Blacks will want to ensure that Eden Park remains a fortress, and they will also want to retain the Bledisloe Cup and stay in pole position on the Tri-Nations log.
I wrote on Monday that the game could be a dress rehearsal for the World Cup final, as it’s possible that New Zealand could host Australia in the decider. On Friday, McCaw said that the All Blacks cannot afford to look that far ahead.
‘History shows that what happens now doesn’t count for a lot down the track,’ he told stuff.co.nz. ‘We’d love to have a good performance here. It’s the last time in New Zealand before the World Cup and obviously at the stadium [that will host the finals].
‘We’ve got to be careful we don’t get carried away with down the track. We’ve got to make sure we perform well this weekend. The Bledisloe is on the line and it would be nice if we hold onto that for another year.
‘If we do the job right then hopefully come October, if it plays out like that, it might help then. But we’ve got to make sure we get the job right for a big Test.’
The Wallabies have been vocal this week, and some of the All Blacks’ players and management have responded by calling the Aussies arrogant and lacking respect. McCaw said that the hosts won’t be sidetracked by the sideshows and that the real talking would be done on the field.
‘It’s what happens tomorrow night, not what happens beforehand. I know with our team we just want to get into it so all the talk and that sort of carry-on means nothing.’