All Blacks have work to do
July 25, 2009
Jerome Kaino believes the All Blacks lost the forward battle in Bloemfontein © Getty Images
In the wake of a painful defeat to South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday, All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Brad Thorn have differing views of their powerful Springbok opponents as they prepare for Saturday's rematch in Durban.
Blindside Kaino believes that he and his fellow forwards lost the collisions, and therefore the game, while Crusaders lock Thorn surprisingly announced that the Springboks' pack lost something in comparison to their French counterparts.
"Personally I think they got one up on us," said Kaino. "We really put a lot of focus on attacking their drive and didn't really get in there. The big work-on for us is the lineout and the scrum and hopefully next week in Durban we can lay a better platform for our backs to work off."
Thorn was overshadowed by his opposite number Bakkies Botha and his partner in crime Victor Matfield, but maintained that while the Boks were a more physical proposition than Australia it was Thierry Dusautoir and France that had provided the sternest test so far this season. The All Blacks drew a two-Test series with Marc Lievremont's men 1-1 in June.
"I thought they were more physical (than Australia) but I was really impressed with the French to be honest. I though they were the most physical games I have played this year," he said. "They are big guys, they play it hard, the Africans, and it is great. This is what it is all about, it is a Test, it is over here and it's great."
Forwards coach Steve Hansen was convinced the difference between the teams yesterday didn't boil down to attitude or a lack of physical presence. Instead, he wanted improvement in technical areas, most notably the lineout where hooker Andrew Hore's delivery was again off-kilter.
"They controlled the rugby ball, they had all the possession, either through our errors or us being penalised," Hansen said. "That allowed them to control the game. When one team controls the game it looks good.
"We've got to get a decent platform there so we can have quality ball there. Then we can get a bit of continuity in our game. The preparation time will be really valuable."
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