Key to suc­cess is they are all in it to­gether

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Rugby -

Ihave not been lifted in the line-out since I re­tired from rugby in 2015. This was a hell of a come­back. Train­ing with four All Blacks lit­tle more than 24 hours be­fore their game with Eng­land at Twick­en­ham cer­tainly meant it was a Fri­day with a dif­fer­ence, and the line-out was un­doubt­edly the high­light.

Scott Bar­rett and Dal­ton Pa­palii lifted me a good foot higher than I’ve ever gone pre­vi­ously, and hav­ing the world’s best player,

Beau­den Bar­rett, as my scrum-half cer­tainly meant this was a morn­ing to re­mem­ber.

The train­ing ses­sion was put on for one of the All Blacks’ spon­sors and se­lected me­dia, and the play­ers were re­mark­ably re­laxed con­sid­er­ing how close it was to such a big match. There were lit­tle clues to their suc­cess ev­ery­where you looked. As Richie Mo’unga, Bar­rett’s un­der­study, led crisp han­dling drills, he told me that ev­ery player in the All Black squad, no mat­ter their po­si­tion, will spend more time prac­tis­ing pass­ing than any other skill. If their front row pull off some mir­a­cle off­loads to­day, it is no fluke.

But watch­ing the four lead a smooth, sharp train­ing ses­sion, what struck me most was how re­laxed they were in each other’s com­pany, par­tic­u­larly Bar­rett and Mo’unga, who are both com­pet­ing for the No10 shirt. It made me think of my own play­ing days and how I would envy the re­la­tion­ship some of the New Zealand women’s team had with each other. For them, it was about help­ing each other im­prove, no mat­ter if they were a ri­val for your po­si­tion.

The All Blacks tem­plate is one many have tried to fol­low. But af­ter just a morn­ing in their in­ner sanc­tum, I can tell that this took years to cre­ate and is ex­tremely hard to repli­cate.

Beau­den Bar­rett and the All Blacks are brand am­bas­sadors of Swiss watch brand Tu­dor. For more in­for­ma­tion go to www. tu­dor­

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