THREE KEY AREAS THE ALL BLACKS MUST IMPROVE
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.
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.