Defence at heart of Black success

Richie McCaw lauded the All Blacks for winning the Grand Slam without conceding a try stressing that defence is the key to Test rugby success.

The stats make for bleak reading if you’re a northern nations supporter. Not only were England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales paddled by the All Blacks but between them they could not muster one five-pointer. In 320 minutes of rugby, not one player beat the All Blacks defence to score.

England will lament their own errors in Saturday’s 32-6 defeat, but McCaw commended his charges for their bruising defence. It was a prominent feature on South Africa’s three-Test tour and similarly so during New Zealand’s Grand Slam campaign.

“We put in some big defence in the second half and sometimes it can be the difference,” said McCaw. “It indicates the attitude of this team, and defence often wins you games. It’s one of the most important things in Test rugby.”

The All Blacks were not at their best but still managed to score three tries. Two were from turnover ball which is another compliment to the pressure exerted by the defence.

“We played the way we wanted to in the last 20 minutes,” said McCaw.

James Haskell was one of four English players yellow-carded in Saturday’s Test at Twickenham. The flanker lamented the number of penalties conceded by England.

“We can’t afford to be penalised like that. At this level, you have to play to the referee’s interpretations and we didn’t do that, which is disappointing.”