Japan will provide a fresh sort of challenge for New Zealand at this stage of the Rugby World Cup, according to full-back Mils Muliaina.
Muliaina believes Japan are a different proposition from the more physical Tongans – who the All Blacks defeated 41-10 in their opening Pool A clash – and they would be a lot faster with their style of play.
"They move the ball a bit more, similar to what we do, so for us we will be reflecting on what happened in the second half (against Tonga) and making sure we nail that throughout the whole game," Muliaina said.
"Japan will be tough for us, we have to make sure we start well."
Muliaina, who will be playing his 99th Test match in Hamilton on Friday, added that he was delighted to see rival Israel Dagg, who scored two tries against the Tongans, excel in the All Blacks' win.
"He hadn't played much rugby and having spoken to him now, as we are rooming together, I'm pretty pleased with the way he has gone."
"Although you want to be out there, I thought the team as a whole played really well in the first half – some of the back play in particular was really good."
"We've got to make sure we continue that and play just as well as they did last week," he said.
Another who missed the opening game was centre Conrad Smith, but while conceding that the natural instinct was to want to play, Smith acknowledged that he performed better after a rest.
"I enjoy playing week in-week out through a Super 15 campaign but for a Test match game, if you want to be 100 percent fizzing, you want to be training for the whole week," Smith said.
"And the reality is if you are playing back-to-back games you end up training only once or twice at full throttle. I like to have my rests."
Smith will also notch a milestone in the Japan clash, which will be his 50th Test for the All Blacks.
Fly-half Dan Carter will miss the match after failing to overcome a sore back, and will be replaced by Colin Slade in the starting 15.
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