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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Consistency is the challenge – All Blacks forwards coach Jason Ryan

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Hamilton – New Zealand forwards coach Jason Ryan Sunday called for consistency after the 53-3 thrashing of Argentina, saying it should not take a setback to fire up the All Blacks.

The All Blacks unleashed their most complete 80 minutes of 2022 in Hamilton on Saturday, running in seven unanswered tries and brimming with intensity just seven days after being stunned 25-18 by the same opponents.

Ryan demanded an end to this year’s hot-cold form, starting with a 2-1 home series loss to Ireland and Rugby Championship defeats to South Africa and Argentina which were both followed by emphatic wins seven days later.

“We shouldn’t have to be responding as All Blacks,” Ryan said.

“Consistency is now the challenge, and we’re good enough. There was some good stuff that we should be proud of, and we are.

“The boys have been hurting but they should be confident now after that performance.”

Ryan and former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt were introduced as assistants to Ian Foster following the Ireland series, replacing John Plumtree and Brad Mooar.

According to the players, both have made an immediate impact.

Intense training

Fly-half Richie Mo’unga spoke this week of the attention to detail demanded by attack coach Schmidt while lock Brodie Retallick lauded Ryan’s influence in improving New Zealand’s set-piece work — an area exposed by the Irish.

“I’ve been here 10 years and this is probably the most intense and accurate week of training I’ve been a part of,” the 96-Test veteran Retallick said on Sunday.

“I think the boys are really buying into what Fozzie (Foster), Joe and Jason are bringing — if you get a tight five that’s playing well, and physical, it allows everyone else to play.

“But it can’t just be done for one week. Consistency is the key now.”

All four teams in the Rugby Championship have recorded two wins and two defeats, but New Zealand are a bonus point clear with two Tests remaining against Australia, the first in Melbourne on September 15.

Pumas coach Michael Cheika said a 50-point defeat was painful but he hoped it would hold his team in good stead ahead of their two remaining Tests against South Africa.

Cheika said his players were too meek in the collisions, the same facet that set up Argentina’s historic first defeat of the All Blacks on New Zealand soil last week.

“In the first game we owned the physicality and in the second game we lost it. In these (wet) conditions as well, that becomes even more important and the game got away from us,” he said.

“New Zealand brought intensity and it’s not like that was a surprise. It’s a two-sided equation and we had the opportunity to bring it back, but we didn’t — we lost the battle in the middle and therefore we lost the game.”


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