All Blacks are 'cynical cheats' says former England player
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Stuart Barnes says New Zealand are “cynical cheats” when it comes to their approach to the breakdowns.
The former England playmaker believes the All Blacks have become “paranoid about openside cover” since Richie McCaw retired and they will do all they can to continue their dominance in one of the key areas of the game
After selecting Ardie Savea, Sam Cane and Matt Todd, Barnes believes the All Blacks will continue their negative play at the breakdowns.
In his Sunday Times column Barnes wrote: “Defenders who create nothing but a trickle of slow possession damn the game and gain an edge. New Zealand, beautiful and ugly in equal measure, are well aware of the fact. McCaw’s greatness was as much to do with his negativity at breakdowns as his inspiring commitment as captain.
“There is no McCaw now, but there remains a ruthless army of openside mercenaries ready to kill quick ball. When the price isn’t so painful, when the referees are protecting legions of these assassins of the fine arts, who can blame coaches for picking them in ever greater numbers?
“… New Zealand, the most positive attacking team in the world, have their flip side. They are also the most cynical cheats at a breakdown.”
‘It’s a waste of time’
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen responded to Barnes’ claims.
“I haven’t given it any thought. It’s a waste of time,” said Hansen.
“If he thinks that’s why we’re carrying three opensides, then carry on thinking that. He couldn’t be further from the truth, but carry on thinking it.
“All of that stuff is irrelevant… We’re playing Tonga this weekend,” Hansen added. “You’ve got commentators in the UK who’ve come out and said we’re cynical at the breakdown. We’re no different to any other team at the breakdown, but he’s got to say something because he’s got to sell his papers. Let’s not get caught up and buy into that.”
Source: Sunday Times, Stuff, New Zealand Herald