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McCaw plays down All Blacks coach's comments ahead of Sydney showdown

“Don’t get too carried away with individual battles, it’s Wallabies versus the All Blacks and that carries enough as it is,” the world champions’ skipper insists.

Richie McCaw.
Richie McCaw.
Image: Getty images

ALL BLACKS CAPTAIN Richie McCaw has distanced himself from coach Steve Hansen’s comments about some of Robbie Deans’ Wallabies selections.

Hansen lit the fuse yesterday ahead of Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup blockbuster in Sydney when he mused that Deans’ decision to retain just six members of his Rugby World Cup semi-final side was an admission he got things wrong last October.

Deans refused to bite this morning, saying only that Hansen is ‘a very good fisherman’, and McCaw was equally careful not to provide the Wallabies with further ammunition.

“That (New Zealand’s 20-6 semi-final victory) is history isn’t it really, I don’t get too carried away with those sorts of things,” McCaw said at ANZ Stadium today.

“The reality is the team we’re coming up against tomorrow night has some quality players. What’s happened before means nothing — teams change and one week can be a long time in sport and if you look at the personnel they’ve got there at the moment they’re all quality individuals and we’re in for a big challenge.

“From my point of view that’s all I’m looking at, what is said through the media doesn’t affect me and I don’t worry about it all to be honest.”

The fact there’s no love lost between former Crusaders colleagues Deans and Hansen is common knowledge, but McCaw played down the bad blood between the two.

“Look I think there’s an intense rivalry between Australia and New Zealand,” he said. ”Don’t get too carried away with individual battles, it’s Wallabies versus the All Blacks and that carries enough as it is, so that’s why you look forward to these Test matches and that’s why I’m excited about it.”

Under former coach Graham Henry the All Blacks typically spent a full week in enemy territory before a Test match. But Hansen has opted for a hit-and-run mission this year, with the All Blacks only arriving in Sydney on Thursday evening. McCaw was unfazed by the change of routine.

“I think everyone’s pretty used to it, in Super Rugby it’s the way we do it,” he said. ”Having the extra day here rather than flying (on Friday), which we’ve done on the odd occasion in Super Rugby, certainly helps. I guess you just run with whatever it is and my motto is ‘do what you’re told’.”

McCaw added that ANZ Stadium also holds no fears for his side. The All Blacks have won five of their 11 matches against the Wallabies at the venue, including one-point victories in each of the previous two encounters.

“There’s been some big battles here,” he said. ”I really enjoy it, when you’ve got 80,000 people here watching when you’re away from home it’s a pretty good place to play. We’ve had some good days here and had some not-so-good days here, but we’re quite keen to make it a good one tomorrow.”

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