Time to step up, says Richie McCaw

Rugby World Cup Pool C

New Zealand v Georgia

Tonight: Millenium Stadium, 8pm
Referee: Pascal Gauzere
TV: TV3, ITV
Betting: New Zealand 1/900, Georgia 100/1, Draw 100/1

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw wants the world champions to “take a step up” when they tackle Georgia in the Millennium Stadium tonight.

The unbeaten Pool C leaders have seen off Argentina and Namibia so far, and there appears to be little that can stop their march back to Cardiff for a probable quarter-final appointment with Ireland or France.

“Performance-wise, we need to take a step up,” McCaw said. “We have all had a run in the first two games, so there are no excuses for not being ready to go.

“There has been a bit of an edge this week in terms of putting right the things that were a little bit off in those opening two games. If we get them right, we will hopefully get a good performance.

“When you haven’t played for a while there is always a bit of rustiness.

“You don’t like to use it as an excuse but I think that was what let us down last week against Namibia. The guys were trying hard but were making some crucial mistakes. You can’t afford to let that happen.”

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made 10 changes for tonight’s clash, which sees New Zealand playing against Georgia for the first time.

“I don’t think you need to be playing against a new side like Georgia to keep you fresh,” McCaw added. “The fact that we are going into the third game of the World Cup means there is a bit of an edge there, regardless of who the opposition is.

“We understand who we are up against, but the main focus is about us getting our game spot-on. The excitement we have got from that is enough.”

New Zealand (v Georgia):

B Smith; W Naholo, C Smith, S B Williams, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; W Crockett, D Coles, C Faumuina; B Retallick, S Whitelock, J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read.

Replacements:

K Mealamu, T Woodcock, O Franks, V Vito, S Cane, T Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, M Fekitoa.

GEORGIA:

B Tsiklauri, G Aptsiauri, D Kacharava, A Todua, L Malaguradze, G Begadze; K Asieshvili, S Mamukashvili, L Chilachava, L Datunashvili, G Chkhaidze, S Sutiashvili, M Gorgodze (capt), L Lomidze.

Replacements:

S Maisuradze, M Nariashvili, A Peikrishvili, K Mikautadze, V Kolelishvili, V Lobzhanidze, M Sharikadze, M Giorgadze.

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