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Fitness is a key World Cup asset for All Blacks - Rennie

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    09 Jul 2018     Getty Images

That's the view of former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, who is now coaching in Glasgow.

Rennie told The Rugby Paper the recent series between New Zealand and France had highlighted the problem teams have.

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"The issue with France is they're just not fit enough. As we saw in each of the three Tests, they were really competitive for big chunks of the games but the advantage the All Blacks have got is they pick their players from just five Super Rugby teams that are all well coached, well conditioned and play a similar type of high-pace, high-skilled game.

"That sort of intensity, allied to individual brilliance, really told in the second half of those matches," he said.

England also needed their players to be well conditioned and ready to play at a standard to compete with the All Blacks but Rennie wondered if clubs were more concerned about having props who could scrum well as opposed to be being able to catch and pass.

That was a point of difference between the All Blacks and their opponents.

Ireland were closest to the All Blacks in that regard and with Leinster and Munster providing most of the players for them they were well conditioned and a 'massive threat' to the All Blacks.

Rennie said while coaching the All Blacks was something he would like to do it wasn't going to happen in the near future and he wasn't in a hurry to do the job. He didn't discount his interest in being considered for the Wales job after the next World Cup.



Rennie said he had been thinking about a move from the Chiefs for some time and when an opportunity came up with Glasgow he paid a visit and spoke with several people in order to be able to make an informed decision.

"I was loving my time at Chiefs but the timing was right. I'd been there six years and it was time for them to have a different voice and some new direction, while I was able to come to a club that was in a pretty healthy state after Gregor Townsend had done such a good job," he said.

While he never had any real aspirations to be a professional coach, he had stepped in at his Upper Hutt club when the senior coach had walked out five weeks into the season and that advanced to coaching Wellington B and then Wellington.

It was after working as an assistant with Manawatu and then taking the full-time job that a pathway emerged resulting in him coaching New Zealand Under-20 to three consecutive world titles between 2008-10.

From there he took on the Chiefs role winning Super Rugby titles in 2012-13.

"We selected well and got some good young men together, picking up a few who weren't on the radar of other Super Rugby sides, and then we just worked hard and added some edge to our game.

"We played with a lot of optimism in attack with Wayne Smith running our defence that became a massive strength of ours," he said.

Reaching the playoffs in each of the six years of his involvement with the Chiefs had been a source of pride.

Rennie said two former All Blacks, Graham Mourie and Smith, had been big influences on his career.

"Initially, I had the pleasure of working with Graham Mourie at Wellington. 'Goss' and I coached together for three years so he was massive for me – very analytical, a huge work ethic and innovative. Then with Smithy from 2012-14, that was equally huge.

"To my mind he's the best coach in the world so I used both those guys as mentors and still keep in touch with them," he said.

Rennie said he had learned a lot from his first season with Glasgow. They had been in a tough pool in the European campaign which would benefit them this season while in the PRO 14 they had played well until the final stages when they were unable to maintain their intensity.

That had taught the coaching team lessons about preparation through the latter stages of the season.

He felt the PRO 14 was a good competition.

"I was very impressed by the positivity of play among the majority of sides. It's a really good product and when you look at three sides – Leinster, Munster and Scarlets – reaching the semifinals of the Champions Cup, that's an indication of its strength.

"It was different from that I was used to in that it's a long campaign and you've got to manage and rotate your players with having so many internationals," he said.