Townsville review brings areas to improve – McLeod

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Defence coach Scott McLeod said with the benefit of their review process the All Blacks knew where they needed to improve.


He didn't buy into the debate over the Springboks' style of play.


South Africa's style of game was one of many styles that made rugby so intriguing. Last week South Africa had nailed their game close to perfection, McLeod said.


From the All Blacks' point of view, it was a case of, 'If you want to be the best in the world, you have to adapt to other styles, and counter those and be better at it and deal with it, and then be able to play your game.'


"So that's the challenge for us this week. Every week we want to put it out there and contend, but we also want to impart the way we want to play, and hopefully that brings entertainment for the fans – All Black rugby," he said.


The intensity of the 19-17 win had made its mark on the All Blacks.


"There were a few tired and sore bodies as you would expect, but we've recovered well," McLeod said.


"We had a smart day yesterday in terms of getting our clarity, mainly in our heads and our books, a little bit less on the field, and today was a bit more zip. We're happy with how the boys have bounced back.


"We had one new body today, Richie Mo'unga was out of quarantine so he tried to lift things but we had to keep him under rein," he said.

First five-eighths Mo'unga would take a full part in preparation during the week and would be available for selection but, whether starting or on the bench, would be an assessment for the selectors to make.


He had injected an extra layer of enthusiasm into the squad, McLeod said.


"He's been inside for two weeks, has been working hard, but we just need to have a look at him on the training field and assess where he's at, and what's best for the team."


McLeod said their Test review exposed several things the All Blacks didn't get right. The players hadn't been happy when seeing the pictures.


"Everyone is motivated to play a lot better than we did. We understand playing against the Boks you are always going to get that pressure," he said.


The Boks were effective in their tackle and collision and their hunting ability to pressure the All Blacks' ruck and ball.


"They took a lot of it. So we weren't happy with our cleanout and ball-carry, so we've addressed that.


"Also, their line-speed does put us under pressure a little bit. In any defensive situation, there is always space somewhere. And our ability to see that space wasn't good enough. We need to see that a lot earlier.


"We created the opportunities but we need to see where that space is earlier so we can get the ball there," he said.


"The players have now seen that on tape, but we can't have another review looking at it on tape, we need to see that on the ground, so that's the improvement we want to see."


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