NZ Rugby World - - Steinlager Series 2018 -

1 Dis­ci­pline

The All Blacks, quite frankly, were shock­ing last year when it came to dis­ci­pline. They gave away a ridicu­lous num­ber of penal­ties, were slow to adapt to ref­er­ees and fin­ished the sea­son with the equal high­est num­ber of cards of any Tier One na­tion.

They can’t af­ford to be so loose or to play so much rugby with 14 men on the field this year. At some stage it is go­ing to cost them.

2 Play­ing for 80

How many times last year did the All Blacks play well for the full 80 min­utes? Well, if we were any good at this, we would check. But let’s just say not of­ten, or in fact, just once against the Boks in Al­bany. That night they nailed it and look what hap­pened – they scored 57 points.

But in their three tests against the Wal­la­bies, they came off the boil for a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod in each as was the case against Ar­gentina. When they de­liver for the full 80, they are al­most un­beat­able.

3 In­juries

It’s not as if this can be man­aged or con­trolled, so the All Blacks are go­ing to have to hope the Rugby Gods smile on them this year.

Last year they played much of the sea­son with­out 10 se­nior play­ers.

That cur­tailed their abil­ity to build their strate­gies or de­velop flu­id­ity and con­sis­tency. If they can keep their play­ers fit and en­joy con­sis­tency of se­lec­tion they should be able to ad­vance their game.

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