Monday 19 March 2018

All Black focus on complete display, not records - Kaino

New Zealand stalwart who worked with Schmidt and played with Payne is expecting physical challenge

Jerome Kaino enjoys an All Blacks Training Session with Local Children in Smith Park, Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/INPHO
Jerome Kaino enjoys an All Blacks Training Session with Local Children in Smith Park, Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/INPHO
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Unlike Ireland, who arrived in Chicago last night, the All Blacks have had a few days to settle into the Windy City.

They spent the weekend as guests of honour of the Chicago Bulls basketball team and doing community outreach training sessions, but yesterday they switched back to the business of Test week.

They are on the back of an 18-match winning streak and have never lost to Ireland, but experienced flanker Jerome Kaino said the context of Saturday's one-off game at Soldier Field will barely come on to the radar.

Unfortunately for the men in green, it appears the world champions are pretty unhappy with their below-par performance against Australia 10 days ago. They won 37-10, but they're still not satisfied.

"We want to play well," the 33-year-old said. "I'm sure the winning streak will come into it. I'm sure the coaches will touch on it, but for us: we've just reviewed the Australia game and we weren't happy with it.

"The scoreboard may say something different, but we know the areas we were dominated physically. Ireland will be looking at that, looking at areas they can exploit. We're looking at the game and looking at areas we want to improve.

"We want to go out on Soldier Field and put in a complete performance. I'm sure the coaches will touch on the winning streak and that we haven't lost to Ireland, but it won't be at the top of the list of our motivations."

Kaino has faced Ireland six times and has worked under Joe Schmidt and alongside Jared Payne at the Blues in Auckland.

"The one that springs to mind is 2008, Croke Park - one of the toughest games I've played against Ireland. The atmosphere the fans bring. . . and I'm sure they'll come in droves to Soldier Field," he said.

"I've got a fairly good idea what's coming: very passionate guys who never give up. The guys who have played Ireland before, we'll be trying to share with the guys who haven't to get ready.

"Joe's a very well-prepared man, he's very similar to the coaches we have here. They focus a lot on the detail and if you see the way that Ireland play, they're very structured. I can see a lot of Joe in their game-plans.

"He's a very good coach and from what I remember he's definitely what you would call a rugby head.

"He's always got a laptop with a rugby game going on, but he's got awesome details. The little things, the basics done well, and you can see it with the way Ireland play. They do the basics really well.

"You actually feel quite proud seeing a guy like Jared take his opportunity. He was a great player in New Zealand, but he thought he'd go overseas and make the most of his talent and he's probably living his dream playing international footy."

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