Rugby World Cup 2019: Skipper Kieran Read downplays long All Blacks break

All Blacks captain Kieran Read has dismissed suggestions that his side will be caught off guard, after a long break before their Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland. 

New Zealand face the Irish in Tokyo on Saturday - their first match since October 6, after their final pool match against Italy was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis. 

After opening their World Cup campaign against South Africa on September 21, the All Blacks haven't been challenged since. 

They had a 10-day break before their match against Canada, followed by a four-day turnaround for the Namibia test, where they fielded a second-string team.

They take on Ireland in Tokyo, nearly a month after hitting top gear to beat the Springboks. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: Skipper Kieran Read downplays long All Blacks break

After the Italy game was cancelled, the All Blacks conducted an in-house game, involving the entire squad.  

Read wasn't concerned by the long break between matches, saying the World Cup was now the "real deal", as it moves into the knockout stage.

"I don't think we've really seen this as a break," he said. 

"For us, the time between games has just been a bit longer, so we've trained well and there's a bit on this game. We turn up and expect things to happen, or go home. 

"Final games are mental, as well as physical. The eight teams left are capable of winning the competition, physically and probably mentally.

"It's about who can step up to the pressure moment, when the opportunity presents itself." 

Read said he was impressed with how Ireland fronted in their final pool match against Samoa, playing 50 minutes with 14 men, after second-five Bundee Aki was sent off for a high tackle. 

"They were pretty good, a man down, to get the scoreline they did... they were certainly pretty physical and tough up front."

The All Blacks stayed in Tokyo, as Typhoon Hagibis tore through the city on Saturday. 

Read paid his respects to the victims who lost their lives during the storm. 

"We just tried to keep ourselves safe, and feel for the Japanese people and the ones affected, because it is pretty serious for a lot of people across this country right now."

Read said the players kept themselves entertained during the storm. 

"I think we were probably a little bit removed from some of the pictures we've seen here at the hotel," he said.

"We just bunkered down. It was certainly interesting, watching out the window what was coming through.

"There was always a movie going on in the team room. It was a comedy - BASEketball - played a few games like cards and darts. 

"It wasn't too bad, but guys are pretty happy to be out and about in the sunshine today."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us for live updates of all Rugby World Cup quarter-finals next weekend.

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