All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?



  • Gregor Paul's latest column in the NZ Herald raises a valid issue about the All Blacks' game management - specifically their tendency to want to sometimes overlook the need for pragmatism and run the ball.

    It was evident in the final minutes of last weekend's test at Argentina when they forsook the opportunity to kick deep into the opposition's territory and instead opted for an elaborate backline move that ended up with the ball being turned over and the Argies camping themselves on NZ's line in the last three minutes.

    "The All Blacks don't have their game management under control," Paul writes. "Not the way they need to if they are to find safe passage through what will inevitably be tense knock-out games where defences dominate.

    "They haven't yet shown they can balance their game: curb their instincts at times, trust them at others and understand that it is sometimes better to be without possession deep in their opponents' territory than it is to have the ball inside their own."

    I'd be interested to hear what others here think, but my feeling is that he has a point. So often, we see the ABs' default option is to run it, even when the smart thing to do is to kick deep and rely on their defences and ability to force a turnover.

    Inevitably, they put themselves under unnecessary pressure. And because their attack-at-all-costs mentality is now so predictable, they make it easier and easier for their opponents to shut them down.

    We seem to have been hearing from Foster now for two or three years about how they are trying new things and sooner or later it will click. But I haven't seen any evidence of it. Instead, we constantly see them chucking flat passes in heavy traffic against rush defences, where the risk-reward equation is way out of whack.

    Surely they need to mix it up a little. The Crusaders, under Scott Robertson, seem to be able to play a more pragmatic and mixed approach to rush defences.

    I'm assuming it's the game plan in which case they need a rethink. If it's a bluff, it's a hugely elaborate one given we only have four test matches until the World Cup.

    Perhaps, they'll pull a swifty and roll out a deep-standing Mounga at 10 in the knock-out matches, with Barrett at fullback and Ben Smith on the right wing. Or perhaps they really don't have a clue.



  • why would they kick from hand? They are shit at it.



  • @mariner4life said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    why would they kick from hand? They are shit at it.

    particularly our halfbacks against Ireland last year. I've still got the shits about that ... kicks going 15 m is unacceptable



  • @nzzp I'm not unfairly lumping all this on the 9s, when our 10, 12s and fullbacks are pretty ordinary as well.



  • There's opportunities to run it in your own 22 - that's typically when the opposition are covering kicks looking to counter attack.

    Not on the ground so I could be completely wrong, but perhaps there isn't sufficient quality information being provided to permit key decision makers to make the best judgement.



  • If they'd kicked the ball deep and then the Argies scored a long range try, we'd be raging about that instead.



  • So it's less of a pragmatism deficit, and more of a 'can't even kick over a sandcastle' deficit?



  • Perhaps they were challenging themselves ie not to run the ball, not to do what was ex[ected, trying to replicate WC conditions?
    However they turned the ball over way way too much for my liking, I know some were rusty, but looking after the ball especially in contact and knowing where your teamates are on the field are just as important takeaways from that game IMO. Attention to basics.



  • @Godder said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    If they'd kicked the ball deep and then the Argies scored a long range try, we'd be raging about that instead.

    That'd never happen to Stephen Donald in Hong Kong ...

    oh wait



  • @Jailbreak7 said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    Attention to basics.

    This is why we win. Our basic skills execution under pressure has been better than everyone elses for ages. It feels like it's slipping, though... and our toothless attack against Ireland and Arg is worrying



  • The attack at all costs mentality works 90% of the time. Problem is, when it doesn’t we don’t seem to have an alternative. And the attack doesn’t seem to be evolving to the point where we can maintain that ratio. Only one of those 10 games has to be in the RWC and we're goners, but worse than that I that the likelihood of the ratio dropping seems to be rising.



  • @shark Every once in a while I like to see the ABs go up the guts and crush an opponent by dominating up front. We haven't done that for a while, perhaps it is time to show that side against the Jaaps



  • The problem in the last minutes wasn't that they didn't kick the ball, the problem was that they went wide. They could have just rolled the ball up in the forwards. No need for what they did and I think we should expect better from someone like Barrett (who was great otherwise).



  • Good to see some in the media finally calling it as it is.

    While the impotence on attack is frustrating, the bigger issue is the game management. Smith, Barrett and Barrett are delivering quality possession to the opposition in such large quantities that we are liable to a ship at least a try a game simply on the weight of it.



  • @canefan said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    @shark Every once in a while I like to see the ABs go up the guts and crush an opponent by dominating up front. We haven't done that for a while, perhaps it is time to show that side against the Jaaps

    I firmly believe this is their actual gameplan by which they will crush everyone before them at the RWC.
    I maintain that the first test and a bit vs the BIL (right up until SBW saw red) is exactly how we intend to take everyone on - brutal and effective.

    I think we've been trying gameplans B, C, D through to Z since because the selectors know whats going to work when we need it to.



  • I remember at the last WC , during the pool stages, they looked bloody terrible, we were all thinking wtf is going on, it was all part of a master plan to put ourselves under pressure for practice, or something bizarre,

    Soon as we hit the big games we clicked into gear,

    I’m hoping like hell there is something similar going on



  • @mariner4life said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    @nzzp I'm not unfairly lumping all this on the 9s, when our 10, 12s and fullbacks are pretty ordinary as well.

    The sweeping left boot of Carter and then his ability to kick at least 40m on the fly off his right. He got us out of many difficult situations with his kicking. His ability and consistency in kicking from hand is the best I’ve seen.



  • @westcoastie said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    @canefan said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    @shark Every once in a while I like to see the ABs go up the guts and crush an opponent by dominating up front. We haven't done that for a while, perhaps it is time to show that side against the Jaaps

    I firmly believe this is their actual gameplan by which they will crush everyone before them at the RWC.
    I maintain that the first test and a bit vs the BIL (right up until SBW saw red) is exactly how we intend to take everyone on - brutal and effective.

    I think we've been trying gameplans B, C, D through to Z since because the selectors know whats going to work when we need it to.

    Shag has been there done that. We have to have faith that he is keeping his powder dry


  • Banned

    @westcoastie said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    @canefan said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    @shark Every once in a while I like to see the ABs go up the guts and crush an opponent by dominating up front. We haven't done that for a while, perhaps it is time to show that side against the Jaaps

    I firmly believe this is their actual gameplan by which they will crush everyone before them at the RWC.
    I maintain that the first test and a bit vs the BIL (right up until SBW saw red) is exactly how we intend to take everyone on - brutal and effective.

    I think we've been trying gameplans B, C, D through to Z since because the selectors know whats going to work when we need it to.

    I would be surprised if ABs try to front and get physical using their packs
    That won't worry ENG IRE up north or Springboks or Pumas as well

    ABs threats come in their backline This threat has been negated recently with line speed Gap btw ABs & the rest of the world has shrunk massively in last 2 years

    To the point that ABs won't win RWC with ease like they did in 2011 & 2015 when they were by far the best side

    2019 RWC will be the most contested Comp to date with 7-8 sides with a legitimate chance of winning it all



  • @Jaguares4real said in All Blacks Suffering Pragmatism Deficit?:

    2019 RWC will be the most contested Comp to date with 7-8 sides with a legitimate chance of winning it all

    Which teams are those? 2 TRC sides and probably 3 NH sides for me...


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