Previous form irrelevant before Rugby World Cup

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Form produced by the All Blacks in their earlier games in 2023 was irrelevant now, although a good memory, as they prepare for the different demands of a Rugby World Cup.

Assistant coach Jason Ryan said in London that the All Blacks had to keep evolving their game.

“Tradition shows that the team that evolves the game the most will hold the trophy up but there’s some good areas around our breakdown we can keep working on and defensively we’re making some good progress as well.”

Ryan said they would pick the best team available for their last warm-up game on Saturday morning [NZT] and look forward to a good, physical contest with the Springboks, which they needed heading into their first Rugby World Cup game with France. And getting through unscathed injury-wise would be good.

“The Springboks, and Twickenham, it’s pretty unique so we’re looking forward to that.”

Despite being a ‘warm-up’ game, Ryan said the All Blacks would go in looking for a dominant mindset.

“If you are hesitant in anything you do, that’s when your injuries happen, so that’s how we’re going to prepare. We’ve shown plenty of our game, as other teams have. You’ve still got to get those momentum shifts and those big pressure moments which are quite important in Test matches, especially at this time of year heading into that World Cup which is right here now.”

During the Rugby Championship, they had ticked off some markers in their game, but they still had areas they wanted to work on, as with every week, and to be competitive and physical when they needed to.

He said that South Africa played well against Wales at the weekend, and their confidence would be up, so the All Blacks would prepare accordingly.

They played in good shape and used the ball well to run away with the game in the end.

With all the emphasis on red cards in other warm-up games, Ryan said, the laws were evident, and it was a case of staying away from the head when tackling.

“You’ve just got to get your tackle technique right, you’ve got to live under the ball…but you’ve still got to be dominant though.”

The return of Springbok captain and flanker Siya Kolisi was a feature of the win over Wales.

“He’s a spiritual leader, and it was great to see him back out there, to be fair. Potentially, it could be his last World Cup, and he’s obviously put a lot of work in to get himself right, and it’s a real credit to him.

“He’s someone they look to under pressure and they get a lot of energy from him. They’ve got a lot of trust in him as a captain and he’s won a World Cup for them too.”

Being in London for the latest pre-Cup games, Ryan said he didn’t think teams showed too much, but he felt that would change and it would be a great World Cup in France.

“We haven’t talked about the World Cup today, we’ve been mindful in talking about the Springboks, otherwise we’ll get too far ahead of ourselves.”

All Blacks v South Africa (Rugby World Cup warm-up): Saturday 26 August, 6.30am NZT, Twickenham, London.

Credit To Onwer