Newcomer Ngani Laumape taking plenty of learnings from All Blacks experience
Freshly-minted All Black Ngani Laumape says he's given his mental approach to rugby a tune-up since entering the Test fold.
The 24-year-old Laumape, a rugby league convert, made his Test debut off the bench in the All Blacks' 24-21 second-Test loss to the British and Irish Lions, before starting in last Saturday's series decider.
He delivered in his typical hard-running manner at Eden Park, making 69 running metres, scoring a maiden Test try and nailing an offload to Anton Lienert-Brown that sent Jordie Barrett in for the side's second.
But a late Lions penalty and controversial refereeing call prevented Laumape's All Blacks from claiming the series, with the match ending a 15-15 draw.
The Hurricanes midfielder said he'd learnt plenty of new things in the past month about preparation for Test-level rugby.
"For me, it's just the preparation side and mental side of the game that I took out of this," Laumape told reporters.
"You can't just turn up and expect to play well, there's processes you need to undertake early in the week to get yourself mentally and physically right.
"Take my preparation seriously, and take the little steps to get myself ready for the Saturday - I feel like I'll go back with a lot more knowledge."
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said both Laumape and Barrett, also in his first Test start, had done themselves proud with their performances.
Their baptisms of fire would put them in good stead for future Tests, as the All Blacks gear up for their Rugby Championship defence.
"We saw a nice little kick in behind, an offload for a try. So he's adding some things all the time and learning a lot," Foster said of Laumape.
"Ngani's really been quite impressive since he's come in, and the way he's gone about his game and his learning."