Cane warns Argentina to expect clinical All Blacks

Sydney (AFP) –


The All Blacks haven't lost back-to-back Tests in almost a decade and skipper Sam Cane warned Argentina they will be far more clinical on Saturday after their sloppy defeat last week.

New Zealand were upset 24-22 by Australia in Brisbane, a rare loss that saw coach Ian Foster axe 10 players and name a near full-strength team to try to avoid their first consecutive defeats since 2011.

Cane said they had learned their lessons, and were chomping at the bit to take out their frustrations on the Pumas, their Tri Nations opponents in Sydney.

"We obviously weren't overly proud of last week's performance and we came out of the review at the start of this week with some pretty clear focuses," he said.

"So we'll be going out there for sure to put in a much-improved performance and one that we can be proud of.

"I don't feel I have to try and motivate the team as such to try and play well. They've got a bit of an edge about them already," he added.

The signs are ominous for Argentina, who have not played a Test since beating the USA at the World Cup last year and have endured a coronavirus-hindered build-up.

They have never beaten the All Blacks in 29 attempts.

Cane said he hoped the All Blacks would click back into the red-hot form they showed in thrashing the Wallabies 43-5 late last month.

"We won't know for sure till we turn up on game day, but based off the way we've trained this week, the group has been pretty clinical," he said.

"We've been training well, and with that we've just got to get the mental aspect right.

"That pretty much comes down to attitude and desire to get up off our line defensively, and is a lot to do with work rate and things like that.

"You can't train those things -– they come down to the mental preparation of individuals and turning up ready to play."

Foster has shifted Beauden Barrett to fullback from his preferred position at fly-half to make way for the returning Richie Mo'unga, reverting to his first-choice backline combination.

Rookie sensation Caleb Clarke takes a slot on the left wing, with Jordie Barrett on the other sideline.

He has also selected a new-look front row of Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles and Joe Moody.

Despite the apparent gulf in class, Cane was respectful of Argentina who ran them close in Buenos Aires last year.

"I think they're the first Argentinian professional team to represent their country this year, so they'll go out with immense pride and we know how passionate they can be," he said.

"We're expecting the first 20 minutes particularly to be all-on."