Evans: Ki­wis ‘are try­ing new moves’

The Rugby Paper - - Analysis - ■ By ADAM HATH­AWAY

FOR­MER New Zealand fly­half Nick Evans has warned North­ern Hemi­sphere fans not to read too much into the All Blacks’ play­ing style this Au­tumn as they could be try­ing to pull the wool over peo­ple’s eyes.

Evans won 16 caps for his coun­try be­tween 2004 and 2007 be­fore mov­ing to Har­lequins, where he is now coach­ing, but is an avid fol­lower of his old side.

The 38-year-old took a keen in­ter­est in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship which New Zealand won de­spite los­ing to South Africa in Welling­ton.

Evans says the All Blacks are all about the World Cup and could be try­ing new sys­tems in games against Eng­land next week­end, fol­lowed by Ire­land and Italy.

“It has been a big sea­son for the All Blacks,” said Evans. “I sit back and watch them and kind of try and work out what they are do­ing. Peo­ple will look at some of the re­sults and say they haven’t played that well but I look at them and say have they been try­ing things?

“There was a game when they just didn’t kick. New Zealand are al­ways in the top three in terms of kicks in play so they kick a lot more than you think.

“Is this just the way the game is go­ing or are they try­ing to push them­selves to a thresh­old just so they can see what they can do go­ing into the World Cup?

“Maybe they are go­ing to come to a game when they can’t kick at all, or they don’t want to kick, how far can they push that with ball in hand be­fore they get to the tip­ping point?

“In the first game against Aus­tralia they looked all over the place so are they try­ing dif­fer­ent set-ups? This is the time to do it and get it sorted out.”

New Zealand have not played Eng­land since 2014 and Evans is ex­pect­ing them to get a thor­ough work out from Ed­die Jones’ side and Ire­land a week later espe­cially if the weather is poor.

“The main goal is the World Cup and what­ever hap­pens here will be test­ing the wa­ters and try­ing com­bi­na­tions and just see­ing how things un­fold.

“They are com­ing up against prob­a­bly the two best de­fen­sive in­ter­na­tional teams in Eng­land and Ire­land and they are go­ing to come up against good kick­ing teams. I have al­ways said Ire­land and Eng­land are the best wet weather teams in the world so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if they have dif­fer­ent set-ups.”

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