All Blacks' skillsets were 'terrible'
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The All Blacks have failed to live up to expectations in the Rugby Championship so far.
After posting an unconvincing 20-16 win over Argentina, they were held to a 16-16 draw by South Africa in Wellington.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen experimented heavily with his squads in those games, and has promised to roll out his strongest side in Perth for their Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia
Although the World Cup in Japan starts in just over six weeks, Coles insists his team’s whole focus is squarely on the Bledisloe Cup.
“If you do have that [World Cup] on your mind, it’s going to trip you up and you’re not going to perform,” said All Blacks hooker Dane Coles.
“I was reminded pretty early when I came into this team how important the Bledisloe Cup is and you really want to be the team that holds it up.
“[We’re] not looking about World Cup momentum or selection. It’s about Bled one.”
Coles is expecting his team to produce a far cleaner display against the Wallabies than what they showed against Argentina and South Africa.
“If you look at those first two games, there were a lot of guys who hadn’t played rugby for a while,” Coles said.
“And especially in the first half of those games, our skill sets were terrible. We dropped a lot of pill.
“Sometimes we can blame it on the rust, but there’s always an expectation that you’ve got to go out and perform.”
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— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 4, 2019
Meanwhile, Coles says it’s important to honour the late Sir Brian Lochore as part of the build-up to Saturday’s clash.
NZ rugby is in mourning following the death of Lochore from cancer at the age of 78 on Saturday.
Lochore is a legend of world rugby, captaining the All Blacks during his playing days before coaching the side to the 1987 World Cup title.
Current All Blacks players are well versed on the significant role Lochore played for the sport in their country, and they are keen to honour him this week.
“I think it’s important that we do have a space in this week that we do talk about it and maybe bring emotion into it and recognise the man that he was, because he did a lot for a lot of people in NZ,” Coles said.
“One of the boys might get up and have a chat and say what a special man he was.”