Discipline a key focus for All Blacks ahead for French clash

h 00100653

Assistant coach Jason Ryan said the side was looking forward to what was going to be a unique game against France. They had settled into their base at Lyon and had been warmly welcomed.

After their loss to South Africa in their last warm-up game, he said some shifts were needed from the forward pack, and they will need to adapt a few things.

"It was clear one was when we went a little early on the maul, and the other one was jumpers were getting thrown across on top of us, so we have got to be a bit smarter around that area.

"I thought, overall, our effort was good, but when you get a couple of cards it is pretty tough to play footy from there on. But we also exposed some young fellows in that forward pack to the finish of that game."

Ryan said one feature of the game was the pressure the All Blacks were under in the first quarter.

"What was also really special in that game was the first 20 minutes, we were under immense pressure, pressure we hadn't felt all year and even a little bit in that Ireland series. The boys have talked about that, and it was great that it came then. But we were still in that game, and it would have been a different game if Will Jordan had gotten away with his try at halftime.

"That's the margins we're talking about. As a team we've acknowledged that."

Ryan said it was evident that France could expect to be under some pressure playing at home, but both sides would be without some key players due to injury, so he was expecting a tight contest.

The All Blacks wanted to embrace the passionate atmosphere expected at Stade de France and not be over-awed.

France had a big forward pack who were all good ball carriers, a good bench, good lineout options, were athletic and used their formations well.

Ryan said, "We've got to be at our best."

Likely admlock substitute Tupou Vaa'i was handling his situation well in the absence of Brodie Retallick.

"One of the things I love about Toops is that he doesn't get too over-awed by things. He's tremendous at the homework he does and plays freely when he's on the field. He does a lot of things instinctively, and that's what we want, especially from a younger man who's learning his way.

"What's been impressive with Toops in this year is probably a true reflection of the guys, Brodie, and Sam [Whitelock] and Scooter [Scott Barrett], is they are helping him. Seeing how they prepare is important."

Ryan said after the lineout concerns exposed by South Africa, they would be looking to work on the gap and getting some information from referees on that.

Regarding discipline and avoiding yellow cards, Ryan said there were always small margins when collisions go wrong.

"But as long as it's not the FIFA World Cup. This is rugby, this is the Rugby World Cup, and this is a spectacle that the game needs. We have to adapt, and we have to get our height right around the collisions and make sure that our carry and cleans are strong, have a dominant mindset and be clear when we can. And we don't give any easy outs, which will be the same for both teams.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup kicks off when the All Blacks face hosts France at Stade de France on Saturday September 9 at 7.15am NZT (Friday 8 September, 8pm CEST). 


View all