All Blacks gave all

Kapi-Mana News - - ELECTION 2011 -

Richard Kahui says the All Blacks need to con­tinue build­ing if they are to beat France this week­end.

The wing has been one of the team’s best play­ers so far in the World Cup as they’ve picked up wins against Tonga and Ja­pan.

But Kahui knows that every­thing will go up a level when they face France at Eden Park on Satur­day.

‘‘ We knew the Ja­panese were go­ing to be a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish to Tonga and we know the French will be dif­fer­ent again,’’ he said.

There had been con­cerns about the All Blacks af­ter losses to South Africa and Aus­tralia and then the scratchy per­for­mance against Tonga.

How­ever, while the pub­lic may have been wor­ried, Kahui said he never felt the All Blacks had ma­jor prob­lems.

‘‘I never felt as if we were off track,’’ he said.

‘‘In the game against Tonga we didn’t play for the full 80 min­utes, which we were all aware of.

‘‘Against Ja­pan we did play the full 80 which was nice, but bet­ter than that is that our phase play stuff was re­ally sharp.

‘‘Against what­ever op­po­si­tion you’ve still got to get the ball into space and we did a re­ally good job of that.’’

Tak­ing stock of where the All Blacks are at the mid­way point in Pool A, Kahui said the team can be sat­is­fied.

‘‘Over­all we’re pretty happy. But if we get too happy with where we are, we’ll fall over.

It would be nice to beat France and put on a good per­for­mance against them as well.’’

No doubt a lot of the me­dia fo­cus will be on the All Blacks’ World Cup losses against France in 1999 and 2007.

Those were both crush­ing de­feats for New Zealand rugby and for many, the pain is still there.

‘‘In past cam­paigns, France have been a real is­sue for the All Blacks. But this is the team of 2011 and we start with a fresh slate,’’ Kahui said.

Photo: PETER DRURY/FAIRFAX NZ

Fly­ing wing: Richard Kahui is tack­led by Ja­pan’s Murray Wil­liams but had a strong game, scor­ing twice in the All Blacks’ 13-try rout of the vis­i­tors.

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