All Black coach John Mitchell believes that the scrum is the main area where his side will need to improve ahead of the Test with Ireland. He was far from happy with his side’s performance in Hamilton
He described the scrummaging against the Italians as being unacceptable and felt that they were lucky to get away with a below par performance in that area.
We may have been a little too smart for ourselves and didn’t stick to our plan in that game. We just didn’t stick to the basics. We were lucky to get away with it and against a better side we might have been made pay. he said.
The fact that they played with two loosehead locks, Norm Maxwell and Simon Mailing probably didn’t help and Mitchell believes that’s an area that can be addressed quickly. However he insists that the All Blacks would not be focusing on the scrum at the expense of other areas.
A team can become very dysfunctional if you overload in one area. You can end up suffering in other areas.
And one of those areas is in the backline where the All Blacks tended to over-run the ball last time out. Again that’s an area Mitchell believes is easily tweaked.
It’s really just a question of the ball carrier timing his pass. The longer he carries the ball the more likely it is that the outside player won’t be able to hold his depth.
Mitchell claims that his players are still very mindful of the close call they had in Lansdowne Road last November and accepts that there is more to the Irish game than the traditional passion and fire that they’ve relied on in the past.
That passion and emotion is still there, but they don’t have to rely on that as much as they did in the past. They’re much more to their game now. They’re more structured and skilled and they’re going to be chucking everything at us on Saturday.