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SYDNEY (AFP) – The All Blacks will target Australia's uncapped fly-half Matt Toomua and explosive winger Israel Folau in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup opener, New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw said.
New Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie opted for Toomua as playmaker ahead of Quade Cooper and the World Cup champions have made their intentions known that they want to make life as difficult as possible for the Test rookie.
McCaw said the Kiwis needed to shut down Toomua to cut off Australia's ball supply to potential match-winning winger Folau.
"I have been impressed with the way he (Toomua) led the Brumbies around the park," McCaw said on Friday.
"We have to make sure we don't allow him to do that. It's up to us to deny him time and good ball and put him under pressure. That's one of our jobs.
"Test rugby is different, but you look across the skills of those guys and there's no reason why they can't do a job if it's put on a plate for them."
Wallabies vice-captain Will Genia, who will partner Toomua in the halves, said he has no doubts the 23-year-old will handle the Bledisloe Cup pressure in Sydney.
"He's a very composed sort of guy," Genia said. "He's been thrown the five-eighth (fly-half) jumper for his first Test against the All Blacks, but he's taken it in his stride throughout the week and I'll be expecting nothing less tomorrow."
Folau has had a spectacular first season since switching from Australian Rules and Rugby League, claiming a dazzling try-scoring double on his Test debut against the British and Irish Lions, before being crowned Australia's Super Rugby rookie of the year last week.
McCaw, back for his first Test in almost nine months after a rugby sabbatical, said dual international Folau must be contained.
"He's a skillful athlete. He's a big man. His skills under the high ball are pretty good but, again, if we don't give him much time to show those, hopefully we can limit his impact," McCaw said.
McCaw's only game time since New Zealand suffered a shock loss to England at Twickenham last November has been an 80-minute club match, two late bench appearances for the Canterbury Crusaders and half a game against Canterbury in an All Blacks squad hitout last Friday.
Yet the open-side flanker said he was preparing to last the full 80 minutes in his 118th Test match this weekend.
"I feel mentally in a good shape and I've done a lot of training," he said.