Switch to 'traditional' style benefiting All Blacks

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Supersport.com columnist Gavin Rich said two signals the All Blacks might be on the path to claim the 2022 Championship had occurred in recent games.


One was the late try to the All Blacks in their Ellis Park win over the Springboks to deny them a loser's bonus point. And the second was the manner of the All Blacks' recovery to beat Argentina 53-3 win in Hamilton.


Rich said: "While one win doesn't make a season, and the All Blacks have conspired to flatter only to deceive before this, there were signs in their big win over Argentina that the turn-around could be more lasting than it was after Emirates Airlines Park [Ellis Park].


"Although the wet weather probably did have some impact on the more direct All Black approach in Hamilton, the switch to what might be called a more traditional Test match style was spoken about by the All Black coaching staff in the build-up week.


"It seems the penny has dropped, and something that has started happening in the past few games, win or lose, is a quite steep upward curve in the All Black forward game.

"Injuries in the All Black camp have forced coach Ian Foster to dig quite deep in search of resources, but those he has found to fill the gaps have come good, with Ethan de Groot, Tyrel Lomax and George Bower all impressing since de Groot was added to the mix in the Johannesburg game.


"Add the impressive hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho to those names and the All Blacks suddenly look strong in an area where previously we thought they were lacking and trailing the likes of the Springboks and some of the northern hemisphere teams."


The change in assistant coaches had created a dramatic improvement in their maul defence and their execution at the maul when securing the ball.


The manner of the All Blacks response to their Christchurch loss to Argentina when playing in Hamilton was comparable to how they turned things around after losing three consecutive Tests to the Springboks in the 2009 Championship.


"The then All Black coach Graham Henry internalised the lessons drummed out to his team and the upshot was that he was a World Cup-winning coach two years later," Rich said.


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