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McCaw: Occasion must not get to us


Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw believes New Zealand have got to make it a case of business as usual when they tackle World Cup semi-final opponents Australia.

The All Blacks are one win away from reaching a World Cup final on home territory and, as a result, the hype surrounding Sunday's Eden Park clash is enormous.

"It's not another game, I think you acknowledge that from the start," All Blacks skipper McCaw admitted. "It's not just another game, but you've got to do a lot of the things exactly the same to ensure you perform."

He added: "The way you train, the things you've got to do during the week, obviously you've got to make sure they are pretty similar. I think when you get into tomorrow, what is different is the excitement and obviously what is at the end.

"The big thing is not to let that get on top of you and inhibit you from going out there and playing well.

"I think what has been the big thing this week is to make sure we go about our process of getting ready to play, the way you train, but being excited about it because it is a World Cup semi-final."

New Zealand have handed Aaron Cruden the pivotal fly-half role, stepping up after injuries sidelined Dan Carter and Colin Slade for the tournament remainder.

But their strength is underlined through renowned line-breaker Sonny Bill Williams being on the bench, with the All Blacks rated clear favourites to reach their first World Cup final since 1995.

"To win these games you've got to have 15 guys, plus the seven coming on off the bench, all to play their best rugby. We've got to do it together," McCaw said.

"You don't take anything for granted. I think this team, with a lot of guys having been through that experience (losing a 2007 quarter-final to France), they are the sort of lessons you learn. These games are about taking opportunities when they present themselves."

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