All Blacks star gives blunt assessment of international rivals' mental strength
All Blacks second row Luke Romano has questioned whether international teams who travel to New Zealand truly believe they can beat the world champions.
The All Blacks' record at home is formidable, with the Lions' second test win in Wellington last summer New Zealand's first home defeat since 2009. Steve Hansen's men travel to Argentina this weekend for their Rugby Championship return fixture with the Pumas, with lock Luke Romano put forward for media duty ahead of the game.
In the first match, Argentina had the All Blacks in trouble early in the second half but weren't able to sustain their dominance. Romano wonders whether Argentina and other travelling sides have the belief that they can topple the All Blacks.
"Obviously there is that history [of success] there at home but whether it's us or whether it's [that] the other teams that come to New Zealand are already beaten before they come there; that the other teams think like that, think that they're not going to win," Romano said to Stuff.Co.NZ.
"So even before they've got on their plane, they've beaten themselves. And that's going back to your question about the mindset; rugby, a lot of it is about the top two inches. A lot of the athletes round the world are pretty similar, they've all got the same attributes and can all do the same things, but it just comes down to that mental attitude and that mindset."
Romano does have praise for the Lions though, after the tourists were able to leave New Zealand with a win and a draw following a titanic three-match series.
"You just take the Lions. The Lions come over real confident and they beat us and had a draw with us," Romano said.