15 Aug 2017

All Blacks won't be caught out again

7:10 am on 15 August 2017

The All Blacks are vowing not to be caught out again.

The British and Irish Lions used a rush defence to great effect in their drawn series against the All Blacks but first five eight Beauden Barrett said they will ready to counter if the Wallabies adopt the same tactic in Saturday's opening Rugby Championship test in Sydney on Saturday.

Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks, romped through last year's tournament with an average of six tries per match on the back of a fast-paced, high-skilled game with Barrett pulling the strings.

In their three-test series, the Lions were able to stifle the All Blacks attack with a defensive pattern that pressured Barrett in close and cut off his options out wide.

While other teams may see the system as a blueprint for how to play against the world champions, 2016 World Player of the Year Barrett said the All Blacks had already come up with ways of exploiting the space it can offer.

"Some teams in Super Rugby adopted that style of defence too, and we do understand it puts the person with the ball under a bit more pressure," Barrett said.

"But ... there are opportunities elsewhere.

"If the Wallabies do bring that on Saturday, we have learned ways to deal with it. It is an ongoing trend; more teams are starting to bring that line speed."

While Australian rugby is beset by problems on and off the field, the ease with which All Blacks won last year's southern hemisphere competition seems to have been forgotten, perhaps due to the Lions series.

The Lions forced the All Blacks into errors, put them under sustained pressure and exposed some poor decision making.

Barrett said the Lions series had been the ideal wake-up call.

"We were perhaps tested in areas where we haven't been before, so that's exactly what we wanted," he said.

"We ask those hard questions of ourselves and of our team mates and it gets the best out of the team. It is just what we needed."