All Blacks set their sights on an Lions classic   8 Jul 2017

LYNN MCCONNELL     07 JUL 2017      GETTY IMAGES

While all the pre-Test banter has been about how the Lions rode home on the terrific wave of support from their travelling fans, not a lot of talk has surrounded the fact that their win came against 14 men, and only then from a controversial late penalty goal.

But Read acknowledged on the eve of his 100th Test that the All Blacks were well aware of what they want to do, in fair weather or foul.

"We weren't really happy with the way we played last week so certainly we've got to make a change. You chip away at it. You're captain for a reason. You're in front making sure the boys are building. 

"It's about getting in the right space, and we've done that pretty well. The boys are pretty confident with what we've got in our group. It's a pretty exciting challenge. It doesn't get any better than playing at Eden Park in what is in a sense a final," he said.

The context was basic and to the point.

"We've got to play our game. We've done the work, now we've got to keep in a good head space, nice and calm and just do our thing," he said.

Read said while he might be playing his 100th Test he would still go into the game with 'a few butterflies in the stomach'. But the thrill of pulling on the All Blacks' jersey remained the same.

"The All Black captaincy is pretty special to me. I certainly respect it and want to honour it the best I can and the best way to do that is to be myself. I find that's best for the team as well."

Having two starting debut players in Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape added an extra load, especially as they are likely to be obvious targets for the Lions to attempt to expose the All Blacks.

But helping those players through the week before the game was crucial to their fitting into the team plan.

"The guys who are used to it have to impart our knowledge about what these moments mean. The way we can do that is to embrace it. Guys like Ngani and Jordie are new to the team but they've got tremendous talent, and they just need to worry about doing their role.
Source: All Blacks
The pressure had ramped up a little bit and that was to be expected, he said. 
"There are a few guys used to it so you have to impart your knowledge of what these moments do mean to teams."

"It's a pretty cool place to be. I didn't expect to be in this position [100 games]. The biggest thing for me is to do my bit and help the team and get the win," he said.

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