The All Blacks are warning that the band is back together and they are singing from the same song sheet ahead Saturday’s rugby Test against the Wallabies in Perth.
New Zealand basically split their Rugby Championship squad into different squads to tackle Argentina and then South Africa.
It came off the Crusaders advancing to the final and then winning the Super Rugby title while it also allowed the All Blacks to pick a larger squad before narrowing it down ahead of this year’s World Cup in Japan.
The result was two below par performances – by the world champions’ own lofty standards – with a four-point win over the Pumas and a draw with the Springboks.
However, ahead of the Optus Stadium Test with the Wallabies, which also doubles as the opening Bledisloe Cup match, All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster says that they are far better prepared.
“It certainly felt the last two Tests that we were a couple of weeks behind South Africa, for example in preparation,” he said.
“They looked like they were a team who had been together a little bit more than us and knew their game a little bit better.
“It does feel good to narrow it down a little bit, you can feel the team tightening up a little bit and hopefully we are getting to know the micro part of our game a little bit more this week.”
Australia haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup since 2002 and are coming off a woeful 2018 campaign but Foster predicted a tight tussle on Saturday.
“They’ve always been really competitive and we’ve never had an easy game,” he said.
“Sometimes the score has blown out a little bit but then the next week you’ve got a team who’s been able to get under our skin the most.
“They know us well and they’d love to beat us so we know it’s a battle royale.”
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.