Sunday, November 01, 2009

McCaw delights in Blediscoe passion
By MARC HINTON in Tokyo -

It got one of the biggest cheers of the night, and All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw reckoned a bit of Bledisloe bash didn't go amiss in last night's historic match at the famous old Olympic stadium.
McCaw, after a clash his team won 32-19 to complete the season sweep of the Wallabies, said he hoped the Japanese people who turned out in their numbers got what they were after in an at-times heated fixture that finished with a decent old dust-up.

"There was a bit of desperation out there, and I guess the Wallabies were feeling it," remarked McCaw after a game that featured as much niggle as any of the Bledisloes this year."We didn't want to concede points, so there was a bit of passion, a bit of rough and tumble at the end and I think that shows what it means to both teams.
"We didn't want to let an easy try in at the end, and there was a lot of character shown, a lot of big hits went in at times when we were defending our line. That's a real indication of what it means to play in the black jersey."

Unlike his old Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, McCaw felt the Japanese contingent in the crowd would have got pretty good value out of a high-intensity context.

"I thought to have a full stadium was great, the atmosphere was good, the field was in perfect condition, there was a lot of black jerseys in the crowd and we had a lot of support.
"I thought the game was played in pretty good spirit and it was a pretty positive style of rugby. It showed the Japanese people who came along what a test match between the All Blacks and Wallabies was about."

McCaw admitted having come out on the right side of the ledger helped, but he thought the first ever Bledisloe played in Tokyo had been a winner.

He also finally admitted the significance of a seventh straight defeat of the Wallabies, even if the All Blacks had been running a mile from that very point all week.

"Obviously it's quite significant," said McCaw. "This part of the year feels totally different to what we've just been through [in the Tri-Nations], and in terms of looking at how many in a row it's probably not something we focused on a whole lot.
"But I guess looking back now having beaten Australia four out of four in one season is something quite significant, something to be proud of."

For all that, McCaw felt there was still plenty to work on as his team looks back on a performance it knows was not up to the level of what was produced in Wellington to close out the Tri-Nations.

"I think we'd like to start a bit better," he said. "We had a Wallaby team who came out pretty fired up. We'll expect that with teams we play now but rather than sit back and absorb it, we need to make sure we have that edge.
"Having that game under the belt will help that. A few of us played in the Air NZ Cup but the intensity is a long way off test match level. So we'll be better for having that run.
"We perhaps didn't have enough field position in the first half. We had a couple of opportunities, and in one I spilt the ball when we probably would have had five points, so little things like that if we can iron those out we will put teams under pressure."

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