All Blacks seek combinations across the park

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The choice of dual playmakers first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and fullback Beauden Barrett was a demonstration of that desire as coach Steve Hansen said it was a chance to give their combination more time.


Assistant coach Ian Foster followed that up on Tuesday when adding: "I know everyone's excited and talking about these two and the roles they play.


"But, it's how we fit the whole team into the attacking model that we want to play and so it's not just connecting two players, it's about connecting 15."


Just as central to the ploy were midfielders Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue, both making their first start of the tournament.


"We've got to keep building combinations and the tactical side of our game. We've got to learn about conditions in this country. The Canadian game gives us a fantastic opportunity to try and grow where we are at," Foster said


Barrett said the All Blacks believed every back had the capacity to be a playmaker.


"We all have the ability to make good, smart decisions and we all have the skill sets to run, pass or kick it at whatever times.


"We're always encouraged to be key decision-makers, we don't really have playmakers, so to speak, in this team," he said.


Foster also backed substitute loose forward Ardie Savea's decision to wear protective goggles.


"It's the right move for Ardie and it's great that it helps protect an area that other people have an issue with, and it's a great message [that he is able to play as a result]," Foster said.


"It's not a concern for us, from a point of view that we're not surprised. He's been dealing with it for a few years. We've got a great medical staff so we trust all the research they've done.


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"He's a special athlete and he has the ability to influence the game with, and without, the ball. Often you see a player who's great in one of those aspects, but he can be influential in both in big moments.


"His attack stuff is good, and it can be a lot better. Sometimes he puts so much effort into his ball carrying that he can switch out of a game for a little after that.


"So we're going to keep challenging him, which he probably doesn't like hearing. Everyone's got a role. The only way he can do what he does is if people around him do what they do," he said.


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