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All Blacks can get better :Thorne

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New Zealand flank and former captain Reuben Thorne has warned that the All Blacks can better their game after returning from an undefeated tour of Europe on Tuesday.


Thorne, who led a highly favoured All Blacks side through an ultimately traumatic 2003 World Cup semi-final loss to Australia, knows better than any person in New Zealand that peaking ahead of the tournament counts for little.


“No, I don’t think we have peaked yet,” said Thorne on arrival in Christchurch.


“This group of guys (22 protected players) will come out of this conditioning window even better than they are at the moment, and I think we have plenty of points where we can improve and the coaches will tell you the same thing.”


Thorne and several other South Island-based All Blacks and support staff managed to touch down quietly into Christchurch to the welcoming arms of their families.


Along with Thorne, Leon MacDonald and Otago-based Andrew Hore also chose to head straight back to their loved ones instead of taking a European holiday.


It has been another long year for the All Blacks squad and Thorne said he was looking forward to a real break after 12 months of rugby since the Crusaders pre-season training started in December last year.


“It’s going to be different not playing at the start of the Super 14, but we’ve got to make the most of the opportunity as well,” the All Black star said.


The former skipper said not having to carry the pressure of captaincy on his shoulders had made the past year in the All Black environment a lot more enjoyable.


“I still try to contribute as one of the senior players. Not that Richie (McCaw) needs much help these days.”


The 45-test veteran started the first match against England at Twickenham and got 20 minutes game-time from the bench against Wales last weekend.


“I would have loved to have played more but that’s the way it is,” Thorne said.


“But everyone knows that’s the way they (the coaches) are running the show with the rotational policy.


“It means that when guys do get a chance they really get stuck in. That’s the positive side of it.


“Everyone realises they will not play every week, so when they play they want to make the most of it.


“But just look at the results, it’s not like the team is struggling. You just can’t argue with the results.”

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