Brodie Retallick Mark Reason: All Blacks’ big Rugby World Cup fix

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Brodie Retallick Beauden Barrett is still not controlling tests the way he should.


Beauden Barrett is still not controlling tests the way he should.

OPINION: The All Blacks’ narrow and fortunate victory over Argentina last weekend was a typical family reunion. There were moments of blessed harmony but, as the afternoon wore on, the cracks appeared. The old muttering squabbles of discontent bubbled up from below. The family pulled together in the final minutes when it was under siege, but they were far from the band of brothers who stormed the last World Cup.

So what is wrong with the All Blacks? The problems were there last season when they lost to South Africa and Ireland and were lucky not to be turned over by England. The deficiencies have not been fixed. Below we set out some of the dilemmas faced by the All Blacks coaching team. You decide if Steve Hansen and his players came up with the necessary solutions against the Springboks.

1. The All Blacks had the perfect balance at the 2015 World Cup between the game management, kicking precision and passing expertise of Dan Carter and the impact of Beauden Barrett’s brilliant running. But in the ensuing four years Barrett hasn’t so much grown into the No 10 shirt, as grown out of it.

All the by now familiar failings were shown up last weekend by the accuracy of the Pumas’ defence. In the first 60 minutes of the game, when you want your first-five controlling possession and position, Barrett was found wanting.

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His high kicks lacked chasers. His cross kicks were easily read and picked off. The long kicking game failed to establish an advantage. The one jewel was the glorious left-footed chip ahead, but you want more than a short highlight reel from your No 10.

Brodie Retallick Under Ian Foster the All Blacks' attack has struggled to solve the problem of rush defences.


Under Ian Foster the All Blacks’ attack has struggled to solve the problem of rush defences.

There was also a worrying lack of connection and direction with the players outside him. Given that Barrett plays with Ngani Laumape every week, there was little excuse for such fracture. Both Laumape and Anton Lienert-Brown chipped away possession, but there was also no cohesion t

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