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What NZ Rugby Needs To Do…

After another sad, but winning, performance this weekend against Italy got me thinking about what NZ rugby needs to do. Before putting fingers to keyboard I stumbled onto this piece from Gregor Paul. It’s pretty much right-on.

Sadly, it will take a couple of years for NZ to fix its problems. Maybe in time for the RWC – but I doubt it. The key tenets:

  1. Put serious work into developing at least five players with deep, traditional first five skills. That means getting Colin Slade out from underneath Carter’s shadow now.
  2. Restore the core skills of the lock within the S14 franchises. They should be cooked by the time they reach the All Blacks.
  3. Lose the fixation with versatility. Why is Toeava playing? “Take Isaia Toeava – he can do everything, Henry even called him "gold" a few weeks ago. But what has Toeava achieved with the All Blacks? What has been his contribution? He’s never been able to hold a jersey and the crux of test football is that each position comes with highly specific demands.”
  4. Elevate kicking as a priority skill for backs. The big games are decided by the boot, not the ball carrier. That means embracing the drop goal.
  5. Sort the damn line-out out. That the All Blacks give up so many line outs is unacceptable. Get back to the fundamentals.
  6. Differentiate the loose forwards. We need more punch at blindside. Forget all the No 6s who become No 8s.
  7. Back to the damn fundamentals. Why are players are dropping balls all over the field? Unable to catch an up and under? Mis-timing kicks at the line? Come on. These are so called professional players.

Finally, set offensive play now matters more than ever. With all teams deploying a flat defensive line focused only on playing the ball in front of them having a very clear playbook is critical. Sth Africa’s ability to launch plays is incredible and stands them in good stead to for a clean sweep of the tri-nations.

One Response

  1. By Clive on September 28th, 2011 at 12:03 am

    kiwis versus AB TO ESTABLISH NZ TRUE CHAMPS

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