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Carter admits, All Blacks play with more structure

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James Mortimer     31 Jul 2011     Getty Images

Yet to label the Australians as an impatient team with no patterns would be incorrect.

Much of the freedom for example given to Quade Cooper when he ranges out at fullback is a structural move, with Digby Ioane purposefully shifting to first five-eighth defensively for the Wallabies this season.

The All Blacks are a team that does look to express itself, relying heavily on offensive systems to co-ordinate their game, but coach Graham Henry and senior players consistently preach to the team - worry about the first task, and stick to the patterns.

Henry does like his All Blacks to react to what they see, but one only has to glance as the training sessions to see how regimented they can be.

While Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has long lived by his first coaching ethos of 'playing what is in front of you', but equally his sides have often been clinical with their patterns of play.

Carter, talking to the Dominion Post, said that the coaches don't inhibit expression, but that it all came back down to organisation.

"It's quite similar with the Crusaders and All Blacks: the coaches encourage you to back your instincts and play what you see, but before you can get to that stage you need certain set structures and certain plays going into the game that you've developed for the opposition and areas you are looking to target," he said.

"If you get too structured you get a bit one-dimensional and teams soon work that out, but with our plays and how we set things up I would say we are probably more structured than what Genia and Cooper are looking for and doing.

"But we have a good balance and I think that's good, because with structure comes clarity for the team. The [players] like to know where they are going, which direction we are going and then within that every now and then you back your instincts."

Carter is one of those players that 'always seems to have time'.

Part of the reason why he is viewed as one of the game's great number tens is that while he might occassionally play what is in front of him, he bases his game around knowing whats happening everywhere on the field.

It wasn't a fluke the Crusaders playmaker said.

"I really focus on my peripheral vision at training and work closely with my nine to make sure we are always looking up, looking for space whether it's in the backfield to put in a good kick or maybe find someone I think we can get past.

"Some of that can't be trained, but we do a lot of work on it as a team. We all want to be on the same page, seeing the same thing. There's no point just seeing space sometimes because you need your team-mates to help you really exploit weaknesses.

"We do a lot of work against different defensive lines, so guys are making the call in, so we are all on the same page."