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Saturday 10 December 2016

Take it as Read: New Zealand are out for revenge

Kieran Read. Pic: Sportsfile
Kieran Read. Pic: Sportsfile

New Zealand captain Kieran Read holds the opinion this could be D-Day for the All Blacks, the D standing for 'defining'.

"It is certainly a challenge that makes guys a little bit uncomfortable, a loss and how to deal with that," he said.

"In some ways, we might look back on this one as a defining one (loss), and how we responded."

They have had to wait just two weeks to make up for a first loss to Ireland.

The answer to that predicament won't be known until somewhere just shy of seven o'clock this evening.

For all that, there is an ominous focus about the double world champions this week.

"I am embracing it. It is exciting. I have always enjoyed coming out here.

"I have never had an easy game coming to Ireland," he added.

"The Aviva is a really passionate crowd so it is going to be a really tough Test match and I am looking forward to that."

New Zealand will even call on the spirit of Jonah Lomu, the earthquake at home and the hurt of defeat to put Ireland back in their place.

"We know what it means to lose, how much it hurts the pride of yourself and the group," said Read.

"I think it's just great to recalibrate what we want to achieve as a group, and a loss certainly can magnify that.

"You never want to go through a loss to ensure you get those lessons."

Yet, here they are on a mission of redemption, revenge, recovery.

Call it what you want.

The anniversary of Lomu's passing yesterday is not lost on those who have followed in his giant footsteps.

"To me, he is a massive inspiration. He is the reason why I play footy," said Read.

"I grew up in the area where he was from and played his footy.

"I went to watch him every weekend, so he was a massive inspiration for me and a lot of the guys."

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