Internal team competition drives Reece

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Reece said with all the contenders for places in the side in good form it was great for the competition within the group.

"It's a healthy thing to have in the team and keeps everyone on their toes," he said.

With that in mind, he had looked for areas that could prove a point of difference for him and came up with his defence.

"I've put a lot of work into it, get up there and make some good tackles and big hits. I try and get over the ball if I can," he said.

Sticking close to his Crusaders five-eighths, Richie Mo'unga and David Havili had also proved worthwhile for the ball they were able to lay on for him.

"It's been really good and I'm enjoying my footy this year and I'm probably playing some of my best footy so far and I'm happy to be back here," he said.

The loss to the Pumas last year, the first by an All Blacks team, ensured they knew what they could bring.

"They're very tough blokes, they come with a lot of emotion which makes the game harder. They are right up in your face, they tackle hard, they run hard, they're big boys. We've done a lot of prep this week and we're looking forward to a great challenge on Sunday," he said.

Developing his defence had involved getting some advice from loose forwards Ardie Savea and Akira Ioane, while assistant coach Greg Feek had also been a help.

"Hopefully, we'll see some of that come into the action on Sunday," he said.

One of the requirements in modern rugby was to be strong on the flanks because sides were looking to the outsides to apply pressure.


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