New Zealand Rugby
Plumtree praises All Blacks continued success
October 9, 2013
John Plumtree was impressed by the All Blacks non-reliance on star players Dan Carter and Richie McCaw © Getty Images
Former Wellington and Sharks coach John Plumtree has been watching over the All Blacks for the formula to their success of remaining unbeaten in two years of The Rugby Championship and has outlined the All Blacks winning factors in an article for sarugby.co.za.
Of the many factors Plumtree discovered, the most important factor was the All Blacks depth in selections and their non-reliance of their top-ranked players Dan Carter and Richie McCaw. "The depth in the squad has been created by providing opportunities to individuals without it affecting team cohesion. That builds confidence among the younger members of the squad, and the senior members of the group and coaches believe in them," he said.
Plumtree was impressed by the All Blacks skill in the lineout and their strength at crucial moments of the match. "At long last they aren't having meltdowns in crucial parts of the field and now manage to win ball from which they launch raids or gain important field position," he said. "In the past, the lineout was the one area in which the Springboks backed themselves to apply pressure on the All Blacks and the Boks didn't mind rolling the ball into touch and then attacking the throw of the All Blacks hooker. This was when Victor Matfield was a thorn in the All Blacks side," he said.
Plumtree also noted the All Blacks lack of structure making it hard for opposition sides to analyse and counter. "It looks to me like they don't have set structures for certain areas of the field, so they become hard to read and analyse. If they get quick ball and are on the front foot with numbers, they have the skill level to get the ball to space and beat the drift defence."
But above all else the character of the team was defined by their defence, as seen when handling playing with 14 men for 20 minutes in the last Test against South Africa.
"They pride themselves in this area and know if they work hard for each other and create turnovers, then that is golden ball from which to attack. It also demoralises their opponents when they bash away and can't get through, if there is a line break by the opposition, the All Blacks would rather concede three points than seven and this is a definite ploy that refs have to watch," he said.
For South Africa, Plumtree said, the need to grow confidence in their game was the big issue while they also needed some depth, especially at first five-eighths and tighthead prop. There would also need to be more buy-in from provincial coaches in South Africa to ensure players were not over-worked.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd