NZPA - (21/07/2011)
Getting the little things right will be the focus for the All Blacks when they kick off their World Cup year against Fiji in Dunedin tomorrow night, skipper Richie McCaw said today.
The hosts go into the one-off test match, the final international at Carisbrook, as overwhelming favourites against the side ranked 14th in the world. McCaw, who will play his 95th test match, said their focus was on making sure they all did their jobs on the field .
"This week has certainly been about making sure we get our stuff sorted... We’ve got to make sure that when we tackle we get the physicality right, get the little things right at the breakdown, those sort of things," he said after today's captain’s run at the ground where he used to watch games as a child.
The 30-year-old said the All Blacks needed to keep the game tight or risk letting Fiji, who only arrived in Dunedin yesterday, into the match.
"They’ve got players that can play with the ball and if we make the game loose and allow them to chuck the ball, around they’re certainly good ball players," he said.
The game begins an international season that hopefully culminates in the rugby World Cup final on October 23.
While the squad involved tomorrow has only be named for this test and the Tri-Nations, McCaw said they would be itching to lay down a marker ahead of the naming of the World Cup squad on August 23.
"Everyone realises that this squad here is only here for the Tri-Nations, so everyone wants to make sure they’re involved later in the year.
"What we do now is going to hopefully set us up for later in the year and it would be silly not to acknowledge that, but we’ve got to make sure we get it right here first."
Fiji coach Samu Domini said they would be treating the match like a World Cup game and McCaw said the tournament was not far from their minds either, but they still had to concentrate against a side missing some key players.
"It’d be stupid not to say that (the World Cup) is in the back of our minds, but this week is about getting together without thinking too much down the track.
"It’s about getting everything sorted so that we can play well this week, and then go into the Tri-Nations the following week. That’s the focus."
McCaw said the onus was on the team to put into practice what they have been working on during the week. The focus then was on building on that heading into their first Investec Tri-Nations match of the year against South Africa in Wellington on July 30.As of this afternoon, plenty of tickets were still available for the last test at Carisbrook and the All Blacks only fixture in the South Island for 2011.
"It would be really nice if we could get a few more people in for what’s the last game here and our only test in the South Island.
"From our point of view what will be will be, but it will be nice to see plenty here but obviously there’s a fair bit of rugby that people have got their eyes on."
The match doubles as a fundraiser for the Canterbury earthquake appeal and McCaw said he was aware that some people were suffering from earthquake overload.
"When it is in front of everyone’s mind people want to do what they can, but when you’re not actually in the middle of it, when it goes off the front page, people forget about it and I can totally understand that.
"It doesn’t take away the fact that there are people still struggling at home and they’re going to be for a long time," he said.McCaw was fulsome in his praise of the new Forsyth Barr Stadium which will replace Carisbrook when the All Blacks had a training run there yesterday.
"I’m looking forward to playing at that new stadium. There’s a bit of sadness leaving here (Carisbrook) but what we’ve got to play in will be pretty cool in the future. I’m very impressed. There’s going to be one hell of an atmosphere and a guaranteed dry ball down here is not bad.
"Instead of dreading coming down here in the middle of winter you’re going to get excited about it."