All Blacks put through their paces in gym workout ahead of Bledisloe Cup match against Australia as they prepare for England showdown
- All Blacks took to the gym in Tokyo ahead of Australia match in Tokyo
- They face the Wallabies in final Bledisloe Cup match and already hold 2-0 lead
- New Zealand then travel to UK to play England in autumn Test on November 10
New Zealand will be aiming to inflict a Bledisloe Cup whitewash on struggling Australia and lay down a marker for next year’s World Cup when the fierce trans-Tasman rivals face off in Japanon Saturday.
Following the conclusion of that series, the All Blacks then face a testing autumn series against Japan, England, Ireland and Italy through November.
And the squad, featuring the likes of Kieran Read, Beauden Barrett and Ardie Savea, were put through a series of intensive gym routines ahead of their Bledisloe Cup clash.
Prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi demonstrates one of the more strenuous exercises he carries out
Scrum-half TJ Perenara is put through his paces during an intense gym workout
NEW ZEALAND SQUAD
For Australia, England, Ireland and Italy
Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Joe Moody, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Vaea Fifita, Dalton Papalii, Kieran Read (captain), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Matt Todd
Backs: TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith
Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Liam Coltman, Tyrel Lomax, Reuben O’Neill, Tim Perry, Angus Ta’avao, Luke Romano, Jackson Hemopo, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt, Luke Whitelock
Prop Ola Tuungafasi demonstrated a more unusual exercise, as he strengthened his neck muscles using a weighted chain.
Savea carried out a similar exercise using resistance bands tied to a weights bar.
Barrett can also be seen showing the strain as he pushes the limits of his workout, while captain Read is also present with his team-mates.
Hooker Codie Taylor warned Monday that the world champion All Blacks had their sights set on completing a series sweep after taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with victories in Sydney and Auckland.
New Zealand slipped up last year after beating the Wallabies in the first two Bledisloe Tests. ‘Our challenge is to win all three,’ Taylor told reporters before Saturday’s clash in Yokohama.
The front-row forward cautioned against underestimating Australia, who lost six of eight games this season before an astonishing 45-34 comeback win over Argentina in Salta this month eased the pressure on coach Michael Cheika.
Ardie Savea, whose brother Julian recently moved to Toulon, also gets his head in the game
Despite recent questions over his form, Beauden Barrett is likely to start at fly-half in autumn
The All Blacks will face Japan, England, Ireland and Italy in their Northern Hemisphere tour
‘It’s the Wallabies — they may have lost some games in the Rugby Championship but when they play us they back themselves to beat us.’
New Zealand will be chasing a World Cup hat-trick in 2019. ‘We’re aware of the fact that the World Cup is in Japan next year,’ Taylor said.
‘It’s a great chance to experience the culture and having the Test in a different country adds a little element of excitement.’
New Zealand face the 2019 World Cup hosts Japan in Tokyo on November 3 before flying to Europe to complete their five-match tour against England, Ireland and Italy.
‘You feel like a king when you walk around,’ said Taylor, describing the All Blacks fever triggered by their arrival in Japan.
‘The food is amazing — hopefully we don’t blow out in the next week or two.
– Get ‘stuck in’ –
‘But since last night the boys have switched into normal Test mode to face an Aussie team that will be up for the challenge,’ Taylor added. ‘I’m just looking forward to getting stuck into them again.’
Hooker Dane Coles carries out weighted exercises as his team-mates watch on
Flankers Ardie Savea and Matt Todd will likely play in absence of the injured Sam Cane
Kieran Read has 114 international caps to his name and will captain the All Blacks in November
Japanese rugby fans swoon at New Zealand’s fearsome ‘haka’, but Sam Whitelock put a spiritual spin on its significance to the All Blacks when asked by local journalists.
‘I’m just a skinny white boy so I’m normally hiding down the back,’ smiled the towering lock.
‘The cool thing about the haka is the tradition that’s gone with it. The All Blacks performed it for over a hundred years. People think we do it for intimidation — but for us it’s to connect with ourselves, our team mates and the people that have gone before.’
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