Carter's ton key for Kiwis
Wed, 13 Nov 2013 07:18
The petrol tank is almost empty
New Zealand's Kieran Read says his side will be more eager to mark Dan Carter's 100th cap with a good performance than avenge last year's loss to England when the teams meet on Saturday.
Carter, 31, will become the fifth All Black to reach a century of caps if he plays at Twickenham.
Read finished on the losing side when England pulled off a surprise 38-21 victory last December, but he says Saturday's game will be about honouring Carter rather than settling scores.
"I think you look at the man who Dan is and he will put the team above everything," said the flanker.
"But at the back of my mind, if he is playing I would want to do well for him. It can affect you if you start chasing your tails. To be honest, it has not been used as motivation at all.
"Certainly you don't like losing in a black jersey, but there are a lot of things that have changed in the last 12 months. It is a completely different team in a different place right now.
"You want to win every time you play and that is our mindset this week."
New Zealand go into Saturday's game as the world's top-ranked Test side, but Read has promised that they will not take Stuart Lancaster's England team lightly.
"This is a massive Test and we have got to be smart," he said.
"We are in good shape. We do a lot of homework and the coaches do, too.
"As players, you are expected to do that as well. You can assume a few things, but you have to make sure you know exactly what they are going to be doing on the field."
Meanwhile Read made an all-too-familiar plea for rugby's hierarchy to reassess the demands on international players.
He said the players are starting to show signs of wearing down under the demands of Test rugby and off-field commitments.
Read, now established as one of the team's senior leadership and back-up captain, admits the petrol tank is almost empty for these All Blacks.
"It's tough," he says. "There's obviously commitments that we have to fulfil as a team with our sponsors and making sure we do that right, as well.
"The length of the Tests, at the moment, is probably spot on and maybe where we're having the Tests, from my point of view, could be a bit sharper.
"They could perhaps not lengthen the season quite so long."
Read concedes that Northern Hemisphere teams face the same obstacles as the All Blacks and their Rugby Championship counterparts - Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
"The Northern Hemisphere team come down at the end of their season, which extends their season, the same as what we're doing right now.
"It would be great if we could align it a lot better at some point within that framework."
This seems like the latest call from players for administrators to re-think the international season, although presumably any reduction in games would be not be matched by a reduction in player salaries.
"They just need to take into account the length of the seasons, and make sure they're doing it for the right reasons and we're playing for the right reasons," says Read.
"All we want to do is go out there and play good footy. You do that when you're fresh and you want to be here.
"That's what the public will see - they'll see a good footy game when guys are fresh and raring to go."
Sources: AFP & OneNews
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