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McCaw coy on autumn sweep bid.

Richie McCaw has warned the All Blacks that they are not unbeatable as they prepare for battle in the autumn internationals.

The Tri Nations champions' immediate concern is plotting their way past the Wallabies in the final Bledisloe Cup clash

of the year in Hong Kong on Saturday, but the chance to size up their World Cup rivals in the northern hemisphere follows

just a week later.

Graham Henry's men face England at Twickenham on November 6, before Scotland, Ireland and Wales attempt to get in some bragging rights against the All Blacks in the weeks that follow.

But the omens aren't good for the home nations, with only England and Wales managing to get the better of the men in black, albeit seven and 57 years ago respectively.

History doesn't count for anything, however, according to the All Blacks skipper, even though a home nation whitewash next month would be their third in six seasons.

"When we were here four years ago, again a year before a World Cup, we had a good tour," the flanker said.

"We played some of our best rugby in that four-year period on that tour [they hammered England, France and Wales], but we have to improve on that and not fall into the trap of thinking that what we are doing now is going to be good enough for next year. "It's about being able to pick it up and push on. World Cups are important but in the All Blacks it is not acceptable to turn up and not perform.

"To go home having beaten all four teams is very satisfying, but as soon as you start thinking you're better than anyone else just because you've won a few games, that's when you come unstuck."

McCaw and Co notched up almost 140 points in three Tests against Ireland and Wales in June before setting off on their formidable Tri Nations run.

Much of their success has been put down to their understanding of the new breakdown law interpretations, in which other teams have struggled to adjust, and they go into next year's World Cup as firm favourites to end their 24-year hoodoo in the competition.

But the captain is adamant previous records, good or bad, are irrelevant in Test rugby.

"If you go into the World Cup thinking about what has happened before you won't enjoy it," he said. "It is exciting to play in a World Cup. Every team there will have pressure and it's about coping with that weight on your shoulders.

"If you look at our squad, plenty of guys have already been to one or two World Cups. It comes down to attitude in the knockout stages, you're leaving it to chance if you are going to turn up and see how it goes."

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Oct 27, 2010
Words:479
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