All Blacks keen to avoid another 'punch on the nose'

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Rugby World Cup - Bronze Final - New Zealand v Wales
FILE PHOTO: Rugby World Cup - Bronze Final - New Zealand v Wales

SYDNEY (Reuters) - New Zealand expect the physicality level to be ramped up again for the third Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia in Sydney on Saturday, with the home side desperate to give themselves a chance of regaining the trophy.

The All Blacks have held the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy since 2003 and have a 1-0 lead in the four-match series following a 16-16 draw in Wellington and a 27-7 win at Eden Park.

The Wallabies need to win both the remaining games, at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday and at Brisbane's Lang Park on Nov. 7, to reclaim the trophy.

"The intensity will probably raise from Eden Park, as there is so much on the line," All Blacks hooker Dane Coles told reporters in a conference call from Sydney on Monday.

"We took a bit of a punch on the nose in that first game, and they dictated a lot of the game around our physicality.

"We knew we needed to make a step up and come out with some good intent.

"We did that at times, but we still have a lot to improve in our game and get better at it."

Coles added, however, that their aggression had to be channelled properly.

"It is not about going out and being an idiot," the 71-test hooker said. "It is just making sure you stick to your cleans and your tackles and stuff like that."

The All Blacks pack are likely to be boosted by the return of veteran lock Sam Whitelock after he missed the second test with concussion symptoms.

"I have had a bit of extra time to take it slowly," Whitelock said. "I have been training fully, so I just need some boys to tackle.

"Hopefully I'll get through that (on Tuesday)."

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)