28/10/2008 9:09 AM
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw wants his side to use the fourth Bledisloe Cup match of the year to prove it is a worthy holder of the trans-Tasman trophy which is being played for in Hong Kong on Saturday.
It is the first time the two countries have squared off outside of Australasia in a Bledisloe Cup contest, and while the trophy is already in New Zealand's care until next season, the game in Hong Kong has some extra spice to it.
McCaw told the South China Morning Post that the All Blacks would rather win the Cup 3-1 than 2-2.
"It [the Cup] could so easily have been on the line in Hong Kong," McCaw said."But although it is not up for grabs, it is not going to take away any of the intensity. We want to win this one."
While McCaw, regarded as the finest exponent in his position in the world game, has achieved many things djuring his career he has not been one of those New Zealanders to have played in the Hong Kong Sevens.
"I have heard a lot about the atmosphere in Hong Kong. We're all excited and looking forward to it," he said.
It is expected the traditional bias against Australian teams in Hong Kong will continue in the game. An incident of foul play by Australians competing at the 1979 Hong Kong Sevens is remembered regularly by home fans and has seen Australian sides competing in the Sevens over the years being jeered and booed. McCaw was unaware of that tradition.
"I suppose the crowd will get behind us. From what I hear, I believe the crowds will create a super atmosphere. It is bound to be exciting," he said.
Australian fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper is one member of the Australian side who has experienced the crowd's reaction at the Sevens.
"They hated us. Every sevens tour they were just abusing us. I was asking 'Why do they hate us?' They said they don't know. They've just done it for years and years," he said.
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