Sam Cane has admitted New Zealand were not on their game in Scotland. Pic: Getty Images.

Wales Told All Blacks Have Wobbled . . . But You Missed It

Wales have been warned by All Blacks flanker Sam Cane that New Zealand’s vulnerability on their short tour ended at Murrayfield.

The Kiwis were wobbling last week against Scotland as their lead was whittled down to five points in an unconvincing 22-17 victory.

That has prompted thoughts that perhaps a long year that has included a series against the Lions has started to create stresses and cracks opponents can now exploit.

But Cane – the inheritor to former skipper Richie McCaw’s No.7 shirt – insists the complacency his team showed in Edinburgh will not be repeated against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The door has been closed before the horse has bolted.

“Saturday was a reminder that every team we are up against it going out there to play the game of their lives and we need to be at a really high standard,” said Cane said.

“We turned up and maybe our attitude was just a fraction off against Scotland.

“It does not take much and we will be making sure this week we are exactly where we need to be. Sometimes you can gauge if the attitude is not quite there, get a feel for it.

“In terms of a leadership spot, even if you feel it and say something to get it back on track, it is often too late.”

New Zealand’s visit to the Principality Stadium marks the end of a busy year for the All Blacks. This will be the 16th game of 2017 for Steve Hansen’s side, with New Zealand so far having won 12, drawn one and lost two.

“We are really keen to finish the season on the right note,” Cane said. “It would be awesome to sit in the sheds on Saturday and feel really proud about how we went.

“The prep and the build-up is to go out there and win little battles, all the little things that make a big difference. You have to build that through the week because it is pretty tough to just turn up and flick a switch.

“It was yes and no whether we did that last week, there were a couple of guys who thought ‘not sure’.”

Hansen has refused to be drawn on his rivalry with Wales counterpart Warren Gatland after the pair crossed swords on the British and Irish Lions’ tour last summer.

But Cane said the focus on the two coaches would not affect the All Blacks’ build-up.

“Steve is one of the most competitive people I have come up against,” Cane said. “I do not think it matters who we are playing. I have not got any inkling from him he is treating it any differently to a normal Test.

“He is really keen we enjoy our last week as a team and finish with a bang.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has said that he expects more of the same form Wales, regardless of any attempted change in the hosts’ playing style.

“We can only go on what is coming out of their camp and what we’ve seen in the last two games,” said Foster.

“There’s been some changes and we’ve discussed that, but at the end of the day some things don’t change. It’s going to be a very physical rugby game, we know that, and we know it’s about the collision area when you play Wales.

“It’s about the physicality and several other things that have to stay high on our list.”


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