“We need to make them play the game they don't want to” Smith

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Halfback Aaron Smith said it had become a tactic of northern hemisphere sides and Championship opponents to give New Zealand the ball and then attack them at the breakdown.


"So, if you attack with the ball for long periods of time, you're giving them opportunities and they're taking them."


Variation models still allowed the All Blacks to use their kicking game. That involved using the ball to pressure teams and to turn them around because teams were going two or three phases and then kicking it to attack the All Blacks at the breakdown, as Argentina did in their 25-18 win in Christchurch last weekend.


"They used their 'd' [defence] for that. We played into their hands in that sense, but there's plenty of opportunities, plenty of space to turn them around, but also using the ball through wider channels."


Their line speed was not as fast as Ireland or South Africa, but they filled the field well and tackled well.


"When they defend with 13 in the front line, and they've got two guys in the bunkers, there's space somewhere and, as we saw from Argentina, they didn't go past four or five phases at all. They don't want the ball, and we need to be able to turn them round and make them play the game they don't want to."



Complementing that was the need to be better at the breakdown.


Smith said the side had made significant advances recently. The forwards provided platforms at scrums and lineouts, and their goal remained an 80-minute performance.


They had enjoyed some great patches this year – 20 minutes in the first Test against Ireland, the win over South Africa at Ellis Park, especially the last 10 minutes with the bench coming on.


"It's in there. So, that balance of the forwards giving us the ball, the backs using it right, and we get our breakdown right, our 'd' is in a really good spot, teams aren't scoring many tries against us through striking at us, so it's all there. It's just around putting it together, and we're working bloody hard.


First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga said: "Accuracy is a big one for us this week. We didn't have a lot of that."


He was enjoying the different perspective new coach Joe Schmidt has brought to the side.


"He's added a lot to this group and I look forward to working with him more."


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