Patrick Tuipulotu says the All Blacks are not feeling more pressure from the ‘haters’ than they already put on themselves ahead of Saturday’s Tri-Nations clash with Argentina.
New Zealand are seeking redemption following their shock 25-15 loss to Argentina in Sydney nine days ago, which meant back-to-back defeats for them the first time since 2011.
Despite those losses, the two teams are level on six points at the top of the ladder due to two bonus points and a superior points differential.
Tuipulotu says they were aware that their record had put new coach Ian Foster in the firing line, and feels they owe him the win as much as they owe it to themselves.
‘As the coach he’s always the face of the squad and if we lose two in a row [to Argentina] he’s always going to get the blame,’ he said.
‘In this day and age you’re going to get a lot haters, as we call it, but we just move on. It’s on us to get a result and perform well.’
Veteran Sam Whitelock said there was always pressure – internally and externally – to win, so they wouldn’t approach Saturday’s match any differently.
‘For us as All Blacks, we always put ourselves under immense pressure, whether we win, lose or draw, and I think we always demand of ourselves that we go out and play really well,’ Whitelock explained.
‘There is a bit of pressure there at the moment but the reality is that there’s pressure every week and you have to embrace it.’
With two weeks to stew over the 25-15 Pumas scoreline, Whitelock says it has also given them time to have work through the lacklustre performance and really fine-tune their game.
‘It has been good to use last week differently and we’ve had extra time to have those little conversations that during a normal Test are hard to have because you don’t have time.
‘We’re in a better spot going into this last game and we’re excited to get out there and show the improvements we’ve made over the last eight or nine days.’