More high-tension, free-flowing rugby was assured in Saturday’s Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test between the All Blacks and Australia was likely, according to Beauden Barrett.
The trans-Tasman rivals traditionally played that way, and even if it were wet, the DNA, the breakdown and the things the All Blacks do to attack space wouldn’t change.
“That’s always the focus for us. We’ll come up with a plan, make some adjustments on what we did on Thursday night and get excited about training those this week,” Barrett said.
He hoped that out of the time-wasting controversy in Melbourne, more effort would be made to reduce cynical efforts to slow the game’s pace.
All kickers pushed the boundaries to shave time and protect a lead, but when the referee told you to get on with playing, you listen, he said.
Stoppages were one way of reducing the game from flowing freely. That often worked against the All Blacks’ efforts to play the game at pace.
“Fitter players should be rewarded by less stoppages and keeping the ball in play. It’s a better product of rugby. That suits me, and suits New Zealand rugby, so, hopefully, we’re trending in the right direction,” he said.
But the All Blacks were aware they hadn’t achieved what they wanted in Melbourne, and their review had highlighted that.
He acknowledged the Australians always came back, no matter the deficit and that was seen again in Melbourne.
“It’s an opportunity for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and our preparation after getting too complacent after getting a lead like we had.
“There are a few boys that are a bit scratchy at the moment, which is great. That’s where you want to be on a Monday, not feeling comfortable at all, and plenty of edge in camp. There’s a lot to work on. We clearly didn’t put an 80-minute performance together on Thursday night, and that’s the challenge this week.
“It’s reassuring that when we do what we train, we can perform well, but we can’t allow ourselves to have mental lapses that gift them easy tries and the ability to make it a contest right down the stretch.
“We shot ourselves in the foot, we gave up a comprehensive lead, a lot of it was individual errors or mental lapses.”
Smith said they were conscious that they scored many of their points when Australia had reduced numbers – a point hit home during their review.
Knowing they were going into the Auckland Test with the Rugby Championship on the line made it like playing a final.
“Being part of a game like this is very special,” he said.
While it had been nice to lock up the Bledisloe Cup for another season, the lesson from the game, especially from the 56th minute, was that it was always going to be tough when letting Australia back. The All Blacks had succumbed to the pressure they imposed on themselves through lack of execution and indiscipline.
Australia had taken the momentum through the final quarter because of that.
“The good thing is a lot of that is under our control.”
Australia would front up in Auckland. They played an exciting brand of rugby and would pick a team to try and beat up the All Blacks.
But it was also a chance for the All Blacks ‘to clean up a few things’, in their game in their last Test at home this year, he said.
Munster Confirm Three New Signings
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the signing of Oli Jager from the Crusaders with the tighthead prop signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
Hooker Eoghan Clarke is rejoining Munster on a short-term contract with back three player Colm Hogan also returning on a short-term deal.
Jager will join the province in the coming weeks with his contract beginning at the start of December.
Born in London, Jager started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby at Newbridge College and Blackrock College. He lined out for the Ireland U18 Schools team in 2013 before moving to Canterbury in New Zealand at the age of 17.
Initially attending the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, he earned a place in the Crusaders Academy in 2014. After impressing with New Brighton RFC, he earned a place in the Canterbury squad for the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016.
Jager made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and has been a key member of their squad for the past seven years, winning seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.
Eoghan Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in March 2021. A former Ireland U20 international, Clarke won the English Championship with Jersey Reds last season before the club went into liquidation last month.
Colm Hogan, who has lined out for Ireland U20 and Munster A in the past, played his schools rugby with Glenstal Abbey. He captained Dublin University in the AIL and also had a spell with Colomiers in the PRO D2 while studying in France.
The 26-year-old played for Leinster against Chile last year and lined out with recent Munster arrival Alex Nankivell for Tasman Mako in the NPC this year.
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Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.