Full-back Jordie Barrett is confident New Zealand can bounce back to secure series success against Ireland after their second-Test loss led to some serious soul-searching.
The All Blacks blitzed the Irish 42-19 in the Auckland opener a fortnight ago but were powerless to prevent last weekend’s dispiriting 23-12 defeat in Dunedin levelling matters at 1-1.
New Zealand have not lost a home series since 1994 and face a battle to maintain that record in Saturday’s crunch clash in Wellington.
“It is our turn to respond now,” said 25-year-old Barrett. “We feel a lot of it is in our control and we can influence this match.
“We’ve got to put the performance on the park and get the job done because it’s not going to be easy.
“There’s no hiding. There was a lot of disappointment on Saturday night-Sunday morning, even leaking into Monday, but it’s a fresh week, an exciting opportunity, a series decider against a quality side.
“There’s some positive faces and positive moods in camp at the moment so we’re raring to go.
“We don’t have a second chance this week. The boys have had a good look in the mirror and gone away and worked on skills that we need to unfold and put on Ireland this weekend.”
New Zealand have made four personnel changes for the deciding Test at Sky Stadium.
Lock Sam Whitelock and tighthead prop Nepo Laulala have been recalled to Ian Foster’s forward pack, with winger Will Jordan and centre David Havili fit to start following recent positive coronavirus tests.
Head coach Foster, whose second-Test game plan was undermined by two yellow cards and the dismissal of replacement prop Angus Ta’avao, said: “These are the series we want to be part of.
“There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of that is the respect Ireland have gained with our public for the way they’ve played.
“It’s a great examination for us, so we’ve got to show we’re smart and learning as well.
“It’s an early litmus test for how we’ve grown over the last few weeks. We’re at a point now where each team has got a big prize at the end of it. That’s why you play this game,”
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