Eales: Blacks have more to lose

The pressure is on the All Blacks’ coaching staff who are all well past their sell-by date, says Wallabies legend John Eales.

Eales told the media in Australia he was shocked when he first heard Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith were retained after another World Cup failure. Eales admitted the All Blacks have performed well outside of this tournament, but felt the team needed a fresh approach.

The All Blacks beat the Springboks in the first Tri-Nations Test and lost in the second. They’ve failed to impress in either fixture. The Wallabies weren’t at their best last week in Perth, but Eales said there would be a settling period under new coach Robbie Deans.

“It’s a very different psychology the All Blacks are under to what we’re under – we’ve been rebuilding for quite a while now and we’ve had a couple of false starts, short periods under different coaches,” he said.

“Now Robbie Deans has come in and you have that period where people forgive you a bit. The All Blacks are well past that, so that puts more pressure on them, there’s no question.

“The psychology of backing up after you’ve had a really disappointing result at the World Cup is difficult, more difficult than backing up with a big change to what’s happening.”

Eales fears the incumbent coaching staff can offer nothing new, and this will prevent the All Blacks from progressing.

“They are a very good coaching staff and I respect them a lot, but how differently can the same coaching staff do things? People know it didn’t work for them last time.

“It’s a bit harsh judging the All Blacks like this. In that time they’ve also had wonderful success in everything except the World Cup. So that would be playing on their mind.

“I’m surprised they didn’t change something.”