Collins ready to step up the pace

Photosport     27 Sep 2007     Photosport

With nearly all the quarter-final places sorted out, there is a natural temptation to look a week ahead instead of at this weekend's final pool game against Romania in Toulouse.

But not so Collins. He didn't play on Sunday in Edinburgh, and for a player who likes to be in the rough and tumble of action, that suggests little respite for Romania as far as he is concerned.

He also made the point that there are players still keen to be part of the chosen 22 who will contest the latter rounds of games.

Equally, he admits that there is pressure on the All Blacks because of the favoured style of play experienced during the World Cup, where not so many teams are as commited to running the ball as New Zealand.

"When you do make so many handling errors [as in the Scotland game] it shows that you are trying to move the ball and at the moment there's not many teams trying to move the ball. At the moment there seems to be a lot of bombs so it's not from a lack of trying. We are trying to play some footie and at the moment just the little things are letting us down," he said.

There was also a need for the All Blacks to work in a counter to this style of play within the game plan they have already developed.

"We are trying to play our style of rugby but at the same time we do realise how the game is being played at the moment.

"We're trying to play our style of game to suit the style that is being played and at the moment we probably haven't mastered it yet.

"But one week is a long time in rugby, a lot can change in a week," he said.

Collins said the ideal would be to win the World Cup by playing attacking rugby but you also wanted to win it and it could be necessary to adapt to suit the circumstances.

He also warned that the tournament outcome rode on the knockout games. It was possible to be the worst qualifier but still come through to win the World Cup. It came down to playing just three good games.

His own contribution in the remaining games will be vital. His form in the first two games was outstanding and suggests that in the tougher games he can be expected to add to his already fine reputation.

Collins said he is feeling in 'pretty good nick' and he has found the south of France most agreeable.

"No offence to Wellington but having been here four weeks I probably feel six years younger," he said.

As a statement of readiness for the games ahead, it doesn't come much better.