'Wee bit of anger': How All Blacks plan to bounce back after confronting review

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Nov 2021, 12:56PM
Sam Cane was forced to watch from the sidelines as the All Blacks were beaten by Ireland on Sunday. (Photo / Getty)
Sam Cane was forced to watch from the sidelines as the All Blacks were beaten by Ireland on Sunday. (Photo / Getty)

'Wee bit of anger': How All Blacks plan to bounce back after confronting review

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Nov 2021, 12:56PM

Sam Cane says the squad has emerged from a confronting review of the side's loss to Ireland in high spirits and ready to bounce back against France this weekend. 

Ireland dominated almost every facet of Sunday morning's test match as they marched to a 29-20 victory in front of a rousing Dublin crowd. 

Cane says the loss left the squad in an understandably dark mood. 

"It's a hard feeling to describe. Everyone's emotions are a little bit different, there's disappointment, there's frustration, a wee bit of anger but it's all geared around how we got out-played and got it handed to us so we're disappointed with that," Cane told media on Tuesday. 

However, those negative emotions seem to have largely subsided after a team review during which tough evidence was presented for the failings of the side, particularly around on-field decision making. 

"The guts of it was that, it was probably obvious, we didn't hold onto the ball very well and got smacked behind the gain line. And after that we went away from what we're good at, which is getting over the gain line and putting defences on their back-foot," Cane said. 

"There was some individual areas in amongst that and some decision making that got brought up in front of the team – it's never easy for individuals for that to happen – but if you view it as real moments of growth, and those individuals can get better and us a team in certain areas, then it can be a good springboard for us to put on a performance that we can actually be proud of." 

Prop Joe Moody backed the side's game plan for the Ireland test, saying that they just failed to take the right options at key times. 

"Watching the review this morning, we're still creating the opportunities, we're just - at that final hurdle - choosing the wrong option and not quite executing. I don't feel like it's a game plan thing." 

The All Blacks made a whopping 158 tackles in the first half, according to Opta the most by any tier one side in the last six years, and Moody said it drained the team. 

"It was a very heavy load. We definitely felt it coming out of the game yesterday. It was a tough physical battle, and I guess it's what test matches are all about. 

"The hardest physical part of that game was through the first 10 to 25 minutes where it was really fast and we were forced to defend for long periods of time. It definitely does take it out of you when you have to defend for those long periods of time because you're always moving, having to get off the line, make those tackles, hit the rucks and get out – it gets pretty draining." 

Despite the bruising nature of the Ireland loss, Cane said the side was straight back to the training paddock on Tuesday and focussed on a bounce-back performance against France. 

"The mood and the energy has really lifted since the review ... we went from there to training this afternoon and trained really well, so the guys are in good spirits now and excited to have an opportunity to put some wrongs right this weekend," Cane said. 

"If you look at our defence I think we can be proud of the way we defended but we just need to have that same attitude and intent on attack, so I'd hope the response would be a clinical and a physical one." 

One area the All Blacks will be confident of ahead of Paris is scrums. 

Despite the high tackle count for the forwards in Dublin, the pack still showed ascendancy at scrum time but Moody said they didn't make the most of that advantage. 

"I felt like we really had them under pressure at scrum time at a couple of points but we almost let them off I suppose. 

"Honestly I think it's come a long way from the start of the tour to where we are now, I feel like things are really starting to gel for us and some of the things we've been working on are coming right. We'll take a few good things forward." 

New Zealand will go into Sunday's test as heavy favourites against a French team with a reputation as a bogey side for the All Blacks. However, results speak louder than words, with France not being able to topple the men in black since 2009.