All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock said a 3-0 whitewash of Australia was something the world champions were attempting to do.
“It’s been a couple of weeks since we played them last and both teams have probably improved from where we were at the start of the year,” he told the All Blacks’ official website.
Since playing Australia in the first two games of the Rugby Championship, New Zealand had taken some lessons from subsequent matches, especially the Wellington loss to South Africa.
“We had a really good review and we’ve taken some things that are hopefully going to grow our game,” said Whitelock.
Hooker Codie Taylor said they were expecting a typically combative approach from the Wallabies.
“They may have lost some games in the Rugby Championship but whenever they play us you can tell they really back themselves to beat us and it’s our challenge to go out there this week knowing that we’ve played them twice and been successful in those games to do it again in the third one,” he said.
“Last year we didn’t nail it and that’s what happened, we lost so that’s our challenge and we’re just looking forward to getting stuck into them again.”
Whitelock said he would be making some decisions after the northern tour on his prospective playing future post the Rugby World Cup.
He had been to Japan previously through promotions and playing with New Zealand Universities, so he understood how rugby operated there but he was concentrating on playing in Japan first with the All Blacks.
“It’s a massive week this week; we all know what happened last year so I’m excited for this week ahead,” he said.
Taylor said after two weeks off he was feeling good after what had been a long season for all the side through both their Super Rugby and Rugby Championship seasons. All the players had come back together excited about the northern tour.
“It’s a great opportunity for us as a team to see where we’re at in terms of playing some northern hemisphere teams,” he said.