Blacks remedy lineout flaws

Richie McCaw was adamant that the lineout trouble which marred New Zealand’s Vodacom Tri-Nations campaign is behind them.

The South African and Australian jumpers exposed the All Blacks’ fallibility at the set phase during the competition and England are bound to have not missed a trick in this regard.

The Blacks boast a new second row combination for their Test at Twickenham on Sunday, with Chris Jack being partnered by Waikato’s Keith Robinson, who has not played a Test in two years.

McCaw said midweek training had shown a marked improvement in the lineouts although he said the problem could have been dealt with earlier. He added that the side had been working on a few new moves from the lineouts and hoped they would pay dividends.

“Without giving too much away we have some [new plans],” he told reporter John Mehaffey at the team’s London hotel. “Sunday will be the first test [our their ability in the lineout].”

McCaw agreed that the year-end tour, in which the play England, France (twice) and Wales, would be a dress rehearsal for the World Cup and added that they would not be content with the success they have had this season.

“I guess it will be [a dress rehearsal for the World Cup],” McCaw said. “But things change over time too. Things can change a hell of a lot.

“Obviously there are certain parts of our game we think we can improve. If we stand still everyone will catch up and run past.

“This tour we are going to come away from the four games having moved on from where we were.

“In a lot of games in the Tri-Nations we had opportunities we didn’t finish. We have to keep winning and there are some areas we have to keep improving.

He lauded the depth of the All Black squad and added that the they lost no quality when coach Graham Henry employed a rotational system.

“Over the past year we have had probably 30 guys in all who have played in big Test matches. On this trip we have 32 players and we have confidence in every one of them to go out there and do the business.”