New Zealand assistant coach John Plumtree expecting intense challenge from Fiji in Hamilton

John Plumtree is expecting New Zealand to be tested on Saturday
John Plumtree is expecting New Zealand to be tested on Saturday

New Zealand assistant coach John Plumtree believes a stiff challenge awaits them in Hamilton when they face Fiji on Saturday.

The All Blacks started their summer series campaign with a dominating 102-0 win over Tonga but were tested by Fiji in the first Test between the two sides in Dunedin.

Riding on a try from Albert Tuisue and a double penalty from Ben Volavola, Fiji managed to keep New Zealand's lead to 21-11 in the opening half before Ian Foster's men powered by a four-try performance from Dane Coles in the second half went on to complete a 57-23 win.

"If you look at the first game [Tonga], it was a slightly different hit out than the second one [Fiji]. We're pretty sure the third one is going to have more intensity about it," he told

"They've had a game up their sleeve, and so have we.

"We got tested in a few areas, so you'd have to say the last one now is going to have a fair bit more intensity about it as well. We're definitely expecting it to go up a couple of notches"

Plumtree also feels a competitive game against Fiji will help New Zealand test themselves ahead of the Rugby Championship tournament which kicks-off next month.

"You could see their forwards worked hard in that match. They tested us in some areas, which was good for us. You could see a lot of them come from European clubs where they're well-coached and well-drilled.

"There were some pretty sore bodies. The boys knew they were in a Test match.

"It's the perfect preparation, that's exactly what we want. We're expecting a really tough Test".