CAMPO: All Blacks thrill, while the rest fail to impress
All Blacks player Aaron Smith gets past the tackle of Brian O'Driscoll. AFP PHOTO / Michael Bradley
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Test season is here and I was very impressed with the performance and style of the All Blacks on the weekend. I’m amazed they have that level of confidence, composure and teamwork so early in the season.
Ireland are a good team with some world class players, but they were made to look ordinary and years behind the All Blacks.
The All Blacks have always managed to find big, young wingers, and now another big young winger, Julian Savea, is on the scene.
He is still very raw and yet he scored three tries on debut. It was all made very easy by the support of the players around him, who gave him plenty space to move – something that a lot of teams fail to do at this level.
The All Blacks are the World Champions, so everyone is after them.
They’re clearly rebuilding and looking for a sprinkle of younger players to lead the path towards the next RWC. That is their focus.
Where is the focus for the Wallabies when we are faced with the alarming obstacle of only having a coach until 2013?
Can someone tell me who is going to confidently take on a coaching job of this magnitude two years before a RWC?
Steve Hansen realizes they have to keep to going forward and they made an outstanding start to their campaign.
The All Blacks looked the part, with great skills and team work which they have worked hard at in the Super Rugby competition.
And it is showing now.
A lot has been said already about the Wallabies in their loss to Scotland. You must always adapt to the conditions. Needless to say, they were very disappointing.
They had a lot of opportunities to score but the vision and skills to do that was very poor. Again, if you have confidence and team work (like the All Blacks), then you can adapt to anything.
Where are the skills and combinations?
Sometimes you’ve got to throw caution to the wind and back yourself. Part of the blame for this must be pointed at the coaches for not giving the players the skills to try things.
I think that Barnes under pressure is better at 12. He keeps kicking the ball away time and time again (I was dropped once for kicking too much).
We need to find out what style of rugby the Wallabies are going to play: run and attack, or league with two centres who can’t pass to the wings.
Ioane is a great finisher, but he doesn’t get the ball out wide where he can cause a headache for the opposition. He can run, but he needs a centre who can give him room to move, putting more pressure on the oppositions defence.
So what is your plan Mr Deans: play the running game or like last year’s RWC, play league style, hit it up, and hope for a penalty?
Now Jake White has been called in to help Deans prepare the team. Interesting.
Also, what is happening off the field with the Wallabies? More great press as ‘star’ players have been caught causing trouble while in camp. Has Deans got control of the younger players, both on and off the field?
And the best they can do is say we are ‘looking into it’. What happened to consequences, respect for the Green and Gold, and the honour of behaving like a Wallaby on and off the field.
I shudder to think that these are the role models of many youngsters out there.
The Wallabies played better against Wales, who are very tough team. But still, a lot of skills and combination work needs to be done.
The Welsh came out with high expectations and it took them a while to get into the game. But they simply made too many mistakes and need to stay composed.
They were a bit stale and tired after what has been a long, hard European season. If they want to win against the Wallabies, they have to play for the full 80 minutes and do the basics right.
The Wallabies need to play more like a team and move the ball around to the wingers. Just as the All Blacks showed in their display against Ireland.
In the other big game over the weekend, the Springboks had a tough first-up match against England.
It is always very difficult playing at home for the first Test with a new coach and style in this rugby-obsessed country.
There are high expectations here, especially with last year’s RWC still on the fans’ minds.
England didn’t offer a lot. They are still struggling with the basics such as understanding and skills.
I was at the match and I couldn’t believe how the game was so predictable. It was just a ‘bash up’: big guys running straight at each other. No one is actually seeing the holes and running into them.
It’s a real mess of a specatcle these days: bash, bash, bash, kick.
People rave about how strong and talented the players of today are, but we want to see the flair, see how good these guys are one on one.
Of those teams on display over the weekend, only one of them even came close
Which team spends more time on attack than defense? Your call on that.
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