McCaw: All Blacks must be focused
July 21, 2011
Richie McCaw has demanded focus from the All Blacks © Getty Images
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has demanded focus from his side when they kick-off their Test season against Fiji at Carisbrook on Friday.
The 30-year-old flanker, who will win his 95th cap in Dunedin, wants his charges to get the basics right as they seek to avoid a similar upset to Samoa's well-deserved win over Australia last weekend.
"This week has certainly been about making sure we get our stuff sorted," he said. "We've got to make sure that when we tackle we get the physicality right, get the little things right at the breakdown, those sort of things.
"They've got players that can play with the ball and if we make the game loose and allow them to chuck the ball around they're certainly good ball players."
All roads lead to the Rugby World Cup for the All Blacks and McCaw has admitted that those in the current squad - pulled together for the forthcoming Tri-Nations campaign - are eager to stake their claim for inclusion in Graham Henry's plans.
"Everyone realises that this squad here is only here for the Tri-Nations, so everyone wants to make sure they're involved later in the year," McCaw said. "What we do now is going to hopefully set us up for later in the year and it would be silly not to acknowledge that, but we've got to make sure we get it right here first.
"It'd be stupid not to say that [the World Cup] is in the back of our minds, but this week is about getting together without thinking too much down the track. It's about getting everything sorted so that we can play well this week, and then go into the Tri-Nations the following week. That's the focus."
The Fiji match will double as a fundraiser for the Canterbury earthquake appeal and McCaw said he was aware that some people were suffering from earthquake overload, with only 12,500 tickets sold so far for Friday's game.
"When it is in front of everyone's mind people want to do what they can, but when you're not actually in the middle of it, when it goes off the front page, people forget about it and I can totally understand that," he said. "It doesn't take away the fact that there are people still struggling at home and they're going to be for a long time."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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