All Blacks gave all
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.
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.