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All Blacks won't lower guard against Namibia, says NZ's Lienert-Brown

Video Credit: Reuters - Sports - Duration: 03:10s - Published
All Blacks won't lower guard against Namibia, says NZ's Lienert-Brown
New Zealand say they are wary of undermining Namibia ahead of their matchup.

SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (OCTOBER 5, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

VARIOUS OF ALL BLACKS FULL BACK JORDIE BARRETT KICKING BALL AT TRAINING 2.

FLY HALF BEAUDEN BARRETT RUNNING TO CATCH BALL AT TRAINING 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALL BLACKS CENTRE, ANTON LIENERT-BROWN SAYING: "It doesn't matter who we come up against.

It's about me going out there and playing to the best of my ability, whether that's South Africa, Namibia, England or whoever it is.

It's important that you go out there and you have prepared yourself to the best you can to put a performance in for the team.

I wouldn't say there's any less analysis.

There might be less footage on them, but, we have prepared very well for this game, just like we have prepared for South Africa." 4.

SQUAD MEMBERS KICKING BALL AT TRAINING 5.

VARIOUS OF ALL BLACKS PRACTISING LINEOUTS 6.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALL BLACKS ASSISTANT COACH IAN FOSTER SAYING: "We reckon we've got five great midfielders.

Through chance or injury or selection over the last couple of years, we've mixed and matched the combinations for a reason and we're delighted with whatever options we've got.

We've got different strengths, different players, and we're excited about this one.

These two guys, again, they play slightly different.

This fellow here, (Jack Goodhue) sort of, has got a good forty minutes under his belt last week from a long period off so I'm looking forward to Jack getting out there and playing with a bit more freedom now he's got that confidence of being back on the park and LB (Anton Lienert-Brown) been outstanding all year for us.

So, different strengths, different types of games but, we've got some great options." 7.

JORDIE BARRETT KICKING BALL, BEAUDEN BARRETT CATCHING BALL 8.

BEAUDEN BARRETT PASSING BALL AT TRAINING 9.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALL BLACKS CENTRE, ANTON LIENERT-BROWN SAYING: "We want the best for our midfield, but we also want the best for us individually.

So, obviously we train hard individually to put ourselves out there and then whatever happens from there, I guess, so be it.

So, this week it's Jack and I who get an opportunity and Sonny (Bill Williams) and Crotts (Ryan Crotty) working hard to get prepared.

Next week it could be the other two who get the other opportunity.

So, whoever's playing that week, it's about the people that aren't playing, preparing them well for the game.

And, you know, there's no grudges about it and I think that's special about our midfield unit.

There's no bad feelings, we just truly want the best for each other and also ourselves." 10.

SAM WHITELOCK CATCHNG BALL AT TRAINING STORY: New Zealand said on Saturday (October 5) that they will be careful to avoid any complacency against a Namibia team which has lost both their games so far as they seek to give their African opponents plenty of respect ahead of their encounter on Sunday (October 6).

Centre Anton Liebert-Brown said they will take a similar approach to the game against the lowest-ranked side at the tournament that they would if they were playing one of the sport's heavyweights.

The All Blacks are expected to comfortably beat Namibia at Tokyo Stadium and put one foot firmly in the quarter-finals.

The three-times world champions are projected to win Pool B but could still be pipped in the incredibly unlikely event that Italy record their first victory over Steve Hansen's side next week in Toyota City with a bonus point.

New Zealand highlighted their ruthless streak when they ran in nine tries against Canada in Oita on Wednesday to record a 63-0 victory, the highest score at the tournament so far and Lienert-Brown said they were likely to be as focused on Sunday.

Lienert-Brown will join Jack Goodhue in the centres for the third different midfield combination in the tournament.

Goodhue played for 40 minutes against Canada, after recovering from a hamstring injury, with Sonny Bill Williams, while Ryan Crotty and Lienert-Brown played together against the Springboks in the opening match.

After years of stability in the midfield with Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu playing more than 60 tests together, Hansen has chopped and changed his squad during the current World Cup cycle and never settled on a first-choice combination.

Assistant coach Ian Foster, however, said there was no great mystery as to what was the preferred combination, with game plans and opposition proving the defining factor.




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