TOKYO (Reuters) – New Zealand will be looking to control matches starting with Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia and during their October and November tour of Europe, captain Kieran Read said on Friday.
With the All Blacks having already retained the Bledisloe Cup after winning the first two games of the series, both sides are looking to this match in Yokohama, and the European tour that follows, as a chance to build towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
For the reigning world champions, this means dictating territory and control over the opposition.
“We want to be able to dictate games in terms of territory, looking after the pill as much as we can,” Read told reporters in Tokyo.
“If we do that, we generally put ourselves in good positions. You’ve got to be aware of what the opposition will throw at you, but as long as we maintain as much control as we can it will help us.”
For a team that does not lose very often – New Zealand have only been beaten twice in 19 games since the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour – the defeats naturally hurt.
One of those losses came in the third Bledisloe Cup test last year, which was also a dead rubber, when the Wallabies won 23-18 in Brisbane.
“Certainly for us All Blacks we do remember those losses and it is driving us at the back of our minds,” said Read.
New Zealand face Japan next week in Tokyo before tests against England, Ireland and Italy on the tour’s European leg.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)