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Wales sets All Black challenge

Sportal.co.nz     15 Nov 2006    

Speaking to Planetrugby.com, Phillips said despite New Zealand's 47-3 drubbing of France in Lyon early on Sunday morning, it is still not invincible

"Are New Zealand beatable? At this time of the year prior to a World Cup, everyone asks the same question and then they get to the World Cup and are beaten and it becomes headline news," said Phillips.

"Our initial focus is Canada and that's how this week is going to pan out. But yes, the All Blacks are beatable. Not very often, but that's why they are where they are. They are number one.

"But you will get beaten when you are at the top of your game because there's only one way to go."

However, criticism aside, Phillips did concede the All Blacks' defensive effort against France was something to behold last weekend.

"New Zealand's defence was very good. Put it like this, you know it's a good defence when you look across a defence and you think there's about 30 players there.

"It gives you the illusion that there's no space.

"Collectively they are good. Right across the board in that defence line, the application of the tackle is good but also the physicality they bring to it as well.

"I would think it was quite demoralising for the French because of the effect of the physicality of the defence from New Zealand."

Phillips also highlighted our crucial the All Blacks' forward pack was to its success in Lyon against a French outfit rated second in the world.

"What's quite clear about New Zealand is the physicality they are bringing to their game, not just in defence but attack as well," he added.

"They are going to make you work for everything, which is where any team wants to be.

"Pace is always a dangerous animal but, with a defence structure, you can always give yourself an opportunity to cover it."