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Bledisloe Cup desire has not lessened - Barrett

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Monday, August 14, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

That kicks off in Sydney on Saturday night with Australia keen to break a 14-year hold on the trophy by the All Blacks.

Barrett said in Sydney on Monday that he was well aware of the rivalry and what it means for trans-Tasman rugby. He still remembered vividly the penalty goal kicked by Australia's captain John Eales to win the first Test at Westpac Stadium in 2000.

"I can certainly remember it [the Bledisloe Cup] as a kid, how tough it was, how strong the Australians were back then. They still are today, of course, it's just that we're defending it.

"It is important for us, this cup we're playing for. It's probably the second most important cup and trophy behind the World Cup," he said.

The All Blacks were hungry to retain the trophy, or as Barrett put it, 'to win it again'.

Super Rugby was done and dusted so far as Barrett was concerned. It was a Bledisloe Cup game and that was what they were focused on along with getting better as players and as a team.

"There's plenty at stake, we know how much it means to us winning the Bledisloe, and we know how hungry they are. It's going to be a good game with both teams going at it with intensity right up there.

"We know they'll be a different side too. They've been in camp for a fair amount of time towards the end of the Super Rugby season so they'll be working on their game. We won't expect it to be the same so we're preparing for that," he said.
During the Championship there would be no surprise if sides attempted to try and impose the sort of rush defence the British & Irish Lions employed against the All Blacks in their recent series. But the New Zealanders were used to the approach, Barrett said.

"Some teams in Super Rugby adopted that style of defence and we do understand [the rush defence] puts the person with the ball under a bit more pressure but there are opportunities elsewhere. More teams are starting to bring that line speed.

"If the Wallabies do bring that on Saturday, we've learned ways to deal with that and that's an ongoing trend, more teams are starting to bring that line speed," he said.

Of the lessons learned from the Lions series Barrett said: "We were perhaps tested in areas where we haven't been before, so that's exactly what we wanted.

"We ask those hard questions of ourselves and of our teammates, and it gets the best out of the team. It is just what we wanted."