Tackle technique occupies All Black minds

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New Zealand was on the receiving end of the strict tackle guidelines, especially around contact with the head, accidental or otherwise, in their 71-9 win over Namibia on Sunday.

 

Props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi were given yellow cards for tackles on falling players which involved contact with the head.Both were wary of being classified as dirty players as a result of their yellow cards. Hansen said their agility as big men was not the same as for more light-footed backs.

 

"Some of those bigger boys take a bit of time. It's like a big boat versus a little boat, isn't it? The Titanic didn't move quick enough and sunk," he said.

 

"Are we working on how to deal with a ball carrier falling over in the middle of a tackle? Yeah we are. There are certain things we have to make sure we do and we can't have an arm behind your shoulder because that looks like a swinging arm."

 

Hansen said he wouldn't go into how they were working to resolve the issue because it was something all teams would be working on in their own way.

 

But a key element was being alert to how quickly players were falling and how to then pull out of that tackle, or how to take a different approach to the tackle.

"If you've got a small technique problem with how you present yourself…you're vulnerable," he said.

 

Even players with great technique faced the same vulnerability.

 

The concern was that the outcome of the World Cup could be decided by cards although all teams knew what the guidelines were.

 

Hansen coach didn't want to add anything to comments made about the halftime discussion he had during the Namibia game with the side. But he said there was unlikely to be a problem with the side's mental attitude against Italy on Saturday.

 

Having the ability to be in a good space, no matter the opposition, was a difficult skill to acquire and maintain and the only player he had seen do that was former captain Richie McCaw.

 

"He never really had a bad game. He never had an off day. But in the end, it's probably one of the reasons why he retired because it takes a lot of effort; emotional effort and mental effort," he said.

 

Meanwhile, fullback Beauden Barrett was confident a minor leg injury he has suffered would come right. He described it as a 'niggle' and said he wasn't quite where he wanted to be and was working away at a couple of things that would make him even more of a threat heading into the second phase of the tournament.

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