‘Against the Boks, I don’t see him enough mixing it with our big boys’
In the space of a week the All Blacks need to plug an inordinate number of holes in order to be competitive against South Africa in the second round of the Rugby Championship after their humbling loss in round one.
Well former Springboks World Cup winner Schalk Burger has given his advice on one area they can improve on, and it is one he is an expert in- the back row.
The former Springboks flanker said after the game when talking to Justin Marshall on Sky Sport NZ that the All Blacks back row needs strong ball carriers and players that will front up against a big South African pack. It is for that reason that he said he would pick Scott Barrett at No6 instead of Akira Ioane.
“Even though [Barrett’s] a lock at heart, you need someone to go through the gaps,” Burger said. “We throw it back to a Jerome Kaino of old, against the Boks he’s going to front up for 80 minutes. Look, every one of these All Blacks loose forwards are great players, but at the moment if anyone stands out it’s Ardie Savea- sometimes it looks like a one man band because he does a bit of everything.
“It’s hard when you’re a captain in any side and you’re not playing your best and you’ve got a lot on your shoulders and I think that’s where Sam Cane’s at. So it’s quite hard to free yourself up, because that pressure just sits there. I think it clouds your judgement on decision making where the team’s at within a game.
“And then Akira Ioane, I think I’d pick for certain games, especially when he can dominate in the wide channels- he’s like another back, such a nice skillset. But against the Boks, I don’t see him enough mixing it with our big boys and that’s where you’ve got to fight fire with fire, I think, against this Bok defence.”
Some of you guys honestly think I hate Akira. I don’t, I just believe that he really doesn’t front up as much and as hard as he should given the size and skill set.
— RHABULA ☕️ (@Rugby_Scoop) August 8, 2022