All Blacks front row ready for Canada challenge

GettyImages 1178000882


Tighthead Angus Ta'avao (9), hooker Liam Coltman (6) and loosehead Atu Moli (2) have 17 caps between them


Ta'avao said he felt the All Blacks generally had become comfortable with the changed rulings at scrum time introduced midway through the year.


"I don't think there's been too many dramas really. We had a couple of trainings early on when the new laws came out to really get our balance right. I don't think we've had too much trouble.


"We haven't had much feedback from the refs in terms of us needing to adjust so we've got a pretty good philosophy with our scrum and it's working together and being balanced, so that's just what we've been trying to nail and so far it's been going all right," he said.


Hooker Liam Coltman, whose debut was in 2016, said his preparation was centred around being ready to play each week because he never knew what could happen.


"You just take the week as it is, enjoy your time and make sure you're preparing yourself as best you can and prepare your teammates as well because they're the ones who also need the help getting out there and doing what we need to do on the weekend," he said.


Prop Atu Moli said his mindset was down to learning from every experience. While that included his last game, in Perth, it was also about learning from those around him and their experiences.


"At this level you learn from the guys you are going up against at training whether it is Gus [Ta'avao] or Nepo [Laulala] I learn off them. They give me feedback straight away after a scrum if it is something they see I am not doing right they give me feedback," he said.


Having had injury issues, Moli said he didn't see World Cup selection coming. He was drive was just to get back on the field to play some rugby so being in Japan was special.


Originally a tighthead prop, it was in 2017 when first an All Black, that he started to learn the loosehead role.


"It is hard going from one side to the other but with the help of [Mike] Cron, Nepo and Carl [Hoeft-Chiefs scrum coach] they all helped me with where I'm at today," he said.


Ta'avao said Chiefs teammate and Canada captain No8 Tyler Ardron was a passionate guy with experience both in Wales and New Zealand.


"He's a smart guy, pretty onto it but he's also an out there guy, he connects with his teammates quite well and he's a good leader. You've sort of seen that with what he's doing with Canada, he's sort of leading their team, showing up in the big moments when he needs to. So having him there is pretty good," he said.


Ta'avao also knew Canada's first five-eighths Peter Nelson from when he played in Ulster during his gap year. Nelson was in lower grades and was coached by Ta'avao and he was a good player as well.


View all