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Team NZ braced for contact as Oracle get desperate

PUBLISHED: 5:51PM Saturday September 14, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Emirates Team New Zealand are wary of underhand tatics, as Oracle fight to stay in the America's Cup.

With Oracle on the ropes, trailing 0-6 in the first-to-nine series, times are getting desperate in the American camp.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill indicated after yesterday's demoralising race seven loss that they will look to be more aggressive and for Team NZ, that means staying well out of harm's way.

"We need to maintain our boat and if we think we need to back off, we will, even if it costs us a race," Team NZ afterguard coach Rob Davis said. "At this point, we have to be smart about it"

At this stage of the regatta Team NZ can afford to lose a race or two, but they can't afford a damaged boat.

Like Oracle, Team NZ have a second boat at their disposal, but have barely used it.

"I don't see [Oracle] being reckless just because there are a lot of rules in place ... that would create a whole lot of problems for them," Davis added.

But with so much at stake, Team NZ can't afford to rest on their laurels. Oracle have already been docked two points for cheating in the world series events prior to the America's Cup and there is a sense that desperation may lead to drastic measures.

"To have an intentional crash would be a very dangerous thing," said America's Cup director Iain Murray.

"The speeds that they're going, the outcome could be terrible. I think that to suggest there could be an intentional situation, that's a huge responsibility that someone would take on."

It's a scenario that Team NZ are very aware of as they close in on the ultimate goal.

"The only thing that will be enough is to win this we're 100% focused on trying to get three more wins on the board and if we can do that then we'll be very happy," Team NZ skipper Dean Barker said in perhaps the understatement of the regatta.

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