Spotlight on All Blacks' decision-making
SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks loose forward Sam Cane believes his side will have to make better decisions in the heat of battle when they take on France in Paris on Saturday.
The usually ruthless New Zealanders were second best in their 20-29 loss to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, as they struggled to get into their attacking stride.
Cane did not play in that game but says the team review of the match revealed their shortcomings.
“There was some decision-making that got brought up in front of the team and it is never easy for individuals when that happens,” Cane told reporters.
“But if you view it as moments of growth, those individuals can get better, and we can improve as a team.
“I think we can be proud of the way we defended; we just need to have that same intent on our attack. The best response [against France] would be a clinical and a physical one.”
New Zealand had no counter to Ireland once the hosts were on a roll, which questioned whether they have the ability to change their style of play away from the expansive game to something more like traditional Test rugby.
“We do have different styles of play. We showed that against Wales when we went through the forwards a lot. We do have those things in our toolbox,” Cane said.
“But on the weekend there were times when things like that were called and we just didn’t execute. Or the ball carrier didn’t get the dominance that is required against a quality defensive side.
“We ended up having to kick possession away because we were in no position to attack.
“When you are under pressure and things aren’t going your way, it is about the mental ability to stick to what the team is good at, and stick to your job and your role.”
France have the ability to stretch New Zealand as well, and Cane said stopping Antoine Dupont and starving the No.9 of quick ball is key.
“A lot of their game revolves around Dupont. There will be a lot of work needed around the ruck this weekend to limit his abilities,” he said.
“They have dynamic ball carriers with good footwork who can offload. And they have exciting attacking guys out wide too.”