All Blacks need to nail crucial moments - Coles

GettyImages 1242115329

Last weekend's 25-18 loss to Argentina in Christchurch, when they couldn't capitalise on areas of dominance, set back advances made in South Africa.

That has been occupying their minds in their preparation.

Hooker Dane Coles, who has returned to the bench, said their situation of six losses in eight Tests was unique to this group of players. For a few days after losses they felt like the world had ended. But the review process was helpful in finding areas for improvement.

"The No1 thing is getting solutions on how to close out games, win games, and be better.

"I've been in a couple of teams where we've lost, and the thing at the moment is there's been no blame game, or pointing the finger, or going rogue. It's been a collective buy-in to try and get the result and be consistent in our performances, which has been a real positive.

"It's a place this team hasn't been, and everyone has got to stand up and get accountability. If somebody comes at you for not doing the job right, you've got to get on with it and take the feedback on board.

"You've just got to be clear and free. There's a lot of stuff that's happening but you have just got to go out there and enjoy the occasion, and just do your job."

Coles said he was keen to add some impact, and experience, from the bench, but the most important thing was to do his job.

They had looked at their lineout, where the pressure had gone on in the final stages in Christchurch, and it was about working smarter, as a pack, to nail crucial moments.

No8 Ardie Savea said it was up to individuals to be accurate in whatever situation they faced. Identifying how the match officials were controlling the game was also important.

Their focus had been on staying together and being accountable to themselves for what was going wrong.

"I felt like the loosies have been fronting up, and we're just trying to navigate the space of a new breed of players.

"I think for so long New Zealand's been used to Reado [Kieran Read], the McCaws [Richie McCaw], the Jeromes [Jerome Kaino], that has been amazing.

"And you've got a bunch of new boys coming through, and us, myself as well, who are trying to stamp their mark. So, it's a day-to-day, week-to-week process. But, I feel like we're tracking well and putting our best foot forward.

"It's important to build combinations, but, at the same time, you've got to perform under those pressure moments.

"Our focus is staying together and tight, and actually being accountable to ourselves in terms of what's going wrong in our game and what we have to do. That's something that we really look hard at ourselves.

"If you get selected, you get selected, and you back yourself, and you back the trust in mates that get selected next to you to go out and do a job. That selection process is out of our hands, all we can do is turn up."

Those selected never took it for granted and always tried to do their best while being free and clear in their actions and playing.


View all