The All Blacks are expected to roll over Uruguay with some ease in their final World Cup pool match on Thursday but scrum coach Greg Feek said the way Los Teros had taken on France earlier in the tournament had given them some pause for thought.
New Zealand still need a bonus-point win to be certain of a place in the quarterfinals but go into the contest charged with confidence after hammering Italy 96-17 at OL Stadium last week.
France were on a similar high after beating New Zealand in the tournament opener when they faced Uruguay, but struggled to break down the 17-ranked South Americans and ended up with a far from flattering 27-12 win.
“We actually watched that match as a team,” Feek told reporters on Wednesday.
“Obviously we were really curious to see how they’d go. We saw how many turnovers they got at breakdowns, how physical they were, even some of their backs were electric too.
“It got us excited and probably just made us (think) ‘we can’t get complacent in this tournament about anyone we play’.”
Uruguay skipper Andres Vilaseca said on Tuesday that facing New Zealand for the first time was a dream way for Los Teros to end their World Cup and that his team leave everything on the pitch.
“They’re a really confident team,” said All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor.
“The way their captain speaks, they have a lot of belief, which is awesome to see. I think they’ve backed themselves and we’ve prepared accordingly.”
With the quarterfinal line-up to be finalised in the last round of matches this weekend, Taylor was asked if he had turned his mind to New Zealand’s likely opponents in the first knockout round, top-ranked Ireland.
“You have brief moments when you think about a quarter-final and what it might look like,” he said.
“But to be honest, if we get the chance to go to a quarter-final I don’t care who we play. It’s a quarter-final, you’ve got to front up no matter what.”