Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomesportAll Blacks want more ball-in-play at World Cup

All Blacks want more ball-in-play at World Cup

LYON, France – The All Blacks are hoping for more time with the ball in play during World Cup matches so that their renowned fitness can come into play as they look to kickstart their campaign after the opening loss to France.

Injured centre Jordie Barrett complained on Monday that the ball had been in play for just 27 minutes of the tournament opener against the hosts last Friday and scrum coach Greg Feek concurred on Tuesday.

“Yes, we would like to play more footy,” he told reporters in the build-up to their second Pool A match against Namibia in Toulouse on Friday.

“Certainly, we want to get into a fast-paced game that suits us the style that we love to play. I think it was 44 minutes during one of the (Bledisloe Cup games against Australia), so it’s big difference.”

Feek conceded that the heatwave conditions in Paris during the first round of matches had contributed to the number of interruptions in the game, not least the extra water breaks allowed by World Rugby.

“At the weekend the ball was like soap so there’s probably more kicking involved in that strategy,” he added.

“But who knows? It might change in two weeks time, you can see the weather’s starting to change a little bit now. And if we can hold on to the ball, I’m excited about what can happen.”

Dane Coles, who sat out the match against France, said making sure kicks from hand did not go into touch and taking quick lineout throws would help.

The veteran hooker, though, warned that the All Blacks might have to accept that they would not get more than 40 minutes of ball-in-play at this World Cup, nor be able to rely on their opposition fading through fatigue.

“At the World Cup, people turn up on the day and that pressure and that intent can do funny things to you,” he said. “You can run 20 kilometres because you’re playing for your country and stuff like that.”

Coles joined Feek in backing loosehead prop Ethan de Groot to bounce back after a torrid evening in the scrum at the Stade de France last week.

“He’s still a young All Black, you people have got to realise,” Coles said.

“When he came on the scene he was the man, doing the damage, and that’s just part of the journey a young front rower has to take.” REUTERS

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