Marshall hints at different approach by All Blacks
June 14, 2000

Halfback Justin Marshall, back to the starting line-up for the first Test of the year against Tonga in Auckland on Friday, hinted the All Blacks would be going for a different approach this year.

While coaches Wayne Smith and Tony Gilbert went to some length to suggest it would take some time before the squad adjusted to a new approach and pattern, Marshall went further.

The Crusaders halfback, who missed both the Super 12 semi-final and final victory because of a calf strain, said the new approach was different from the Crusaders'.

"The Crusaders are the Crusaders, they have their own style but we have certainly been working on a whole new approach," said Marshall, who won the nod to start on Friday ahead of Byron Kelleher. "I am delighted to be back in the side, I'm really excited because everyone is taking a fresh new approach and everyone wants very much to be part of a new culture.

"The squad has settled down really well, we are really determined to do well this year and make a success of every challenge in front of us.

"Personally I'm jumping out of my skin to get out there. It was so frustrating missing the last two Super 12 games."

He said Smith, Gilbert and Peter Thorburn had decided on a style and pattern removed from the past.

"There are some elements of the Crusaders but really we have been working on a different approach to things," he said. "It might take a bit of time but everyone knows which way we want to go and how we aim to play the game.

"It is different from the past and different from the Crusaders. We'll keep developing and working on it from game to game."

The All Blacks selectors started their tenure by dropping a surprise in picking four new caps.

North Harbour lock Troy Flavell was picked ahead of Norm Maxwell, while highly promising tighthead prop Greg Sommerville was named for his maiden Test. Auckland wing Doug Howlett made the reserves bench for the first time where he will sit alongside Wellington No.8 Filo Tiatia.

First-choice No.8 Ron Cribb and prop Carl Hoeft were not considered because of injuries, while centre Mark Robinson and utility back Leon MacDonald were released from the squad to play club rugby this weekend

"We aren't thinking about anything at this stage other than this game," Smith said. "I can't answer whether we would name the same side if we were playing Australia or South Africa."

Tongan coach David Waterston was indifferent to the naming of New Zealand side.

"They could probably have named another squad if they wanted to, but our job isn't to worry about them.
"We believe we have a game plan. It is based on the South African side because they are the most successful side against the All Blacks, and we have some things planned for them."

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