Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s year-end tour.
Brooke’s frustration boils over
Former All Black captain Zinzan Brooke has urged New Zealand to hammer Scotland in their Test at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Brooke’s frustration stems from Scotland’s decision to field a weakened side in the pool match at the World Cup and preserve their elite players for what they saw as the decisive match, against Italy. He says this contributed significantly to the All Blacks’ poor form in the play-off match against France and their subsequent defeat.
“People have questioned why the All Blacks are not playing their strongest side, but for me the Scots are getting a taste of their own medicine,” he wrote in his column for the BBC.
“I lost interest in Scottish rugby because of what they did at the World Cup last year. To field a second-string side in a pool match, like they did against New Zealand, was an absolute joke.They effectively conceded the game by resting their top team, and I don’t think it helped their cause or the All Blacks.
“New Zealand were under-done when it came to the knock-out stages because they didn’t have a decent hit-out in the group games, and ended up losing to France. So for that reason I’d be quite happy for the All Blacks to kick their butts, frankly, as payback for the World Cup.”
Smith: Scots to face form Kiwis
All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith argued that the side they would field against Scotland was not weakened at all.
The Blacks have opted to rest many of their elite players, but Smith insists that they have selected a group of players on top of their games.
“I’ve been really pleased. I think New Zealanders know a lot of these players as the form players form the Air New Zealand Cup and they had good Super 14s as well,” said Smith.
“I think New Zealanders will be excited generally that these boys are getting a crack. There are going to be some great players coming through from this group.
“If you look at the Messams, the Reads and Mackintoshs – they are the form players form the Air New Zealand Cup. They are talented young players who have form behind them.”
Smith added that they expected the Scots to be very direct in their approach and identified dominance at the set piece and breakdown as crucial.
“They are obviously going to try to do the business up front first but use the ball if they get it. They have some young backs themselves who are very quick, have good hearts, and chase down a lot of tackles.”
‘Whopper’ credits Cron
All Black debutant Jamie Mackintosh says New Zealand scrum guru Mike Cron has been instrumental in his development.
The loosehead prop, who is nicknamed Whopper because of his size (1.93m, 130kg), has had a long association with Cron dating back to his teens.
“Since I was 16 ‘Crony’ has been like my second dad,” the Highlanders player said. “It’s a bit of a team joke – they have been paying me out that I spend more time in Crono’s room than mine.
“But he’s been a pretty special figure in what I’ve done. He gives you the expertise so that you can fix things. You sit there and chat to him and then you go and scrum against the bed at night time and you get it right. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at heading into the game on Saturday.”
More to follow…