Cory Jane fans flames before Bledisloe opener

GEORGINA ROBINSON
Last updated 10:29 16/08/2014
Cory Jane
Getty
CHEEKY DIG: All Blacks winger Cory Jane has lit the fuse for a fiery Bledisloe Cup opener by hinting at Kurtley Beale's defensive frailties.
Kurtley Beale
Reuters
BIG CHALLENGE: Kurtley Beale will start tonight's Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney at first-five.

Related Links

Kurtley Beale ready for pivotal role McCaw plays straight bat on Beale talking point Huge amount at stake for Bledisloe battle All Blacks dealing with Conrad Smith situation Dane Coles fizzing for Bledisloe Cup debut

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Tom Taylor signs with French Top 14 club Bayonne Serious injury concern for Chiefs' All Black lock Brodie Retallick after shoulder blow Dan Carter pivotal to All Black's World Cup chances, says former coach Graham Henry NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew forecasts 'modest profit' for 2014 France 'loaded' on drugs for infamous 1986 All Blacks 'Battle of Nantes' test Former All Black Piri Weepu to leave London Welsh after signing deal with French club Oyonnax New Zealand Rugby says mosquito-transmitted disease in Samoa won't threaten Apia test match Andy Ellis earned the yen in Japan but lost chance to return to the All Blacks fold Richie McCaw refutes links with offshore clubs, remains mute on retirement talk All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa sticks with NZ rugby for next three years

All Blacks winger Cory Jane has taken a leaf out of his coach's book and dared Wallabies five-eighth Kurtley Beale to defend in the front line against New Zealand in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test tonight.

As the All Blacks made last-minute changes to their back line to allow Conrad Smith to be with his wife for the birth of their first child yesterday, Jane fanned the flames of trans-Tasman rivalry with a backhanded endorsement of the Wallabies back-line general.

"We all miss tackles now and then," he said when asked about Beale's defensive capabilities. 

"The Waratahs moved him out the back, but if he stands at No.10, that's where I reckon he's better to be.

"If you move him into the back field then there's opportunities to put kicks up, so I reckon if he stays there you've still got [Michael Hooper] who's a hell of a player inside of him, you've got great defenders outside of him, so he just needs to stand there."

Jane, whose man-of-the-match performance caused Australia so much pain in their 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final, will start on the wing, joining Julian Savea and fullback Ben Smith in a back three capable of causing serious chaos in Australia's defence tonight.

As Test rookie Malakai Fekitoa is ready to slot in at centre next to Ma'a Nonu if Smith is unable to return in time for the match at ANZ Stadium, Beale and No.12 Matt Toomua will have their work cut out in the midfield. 

While the All Blacks might miss 77-Test veteran Smith's bank of experience and rugby brain, they will gain Fekitoa's explosive unpredictability. If Beale's shock selection at No.10 wobbled any apple cart in the All Blacks camp before Saturday's clash, the Fekitoa-for-Smith swap just upended that of the Wallabies.

Australia's defensive record improved sharply at the end of last season and was better again against France in June.

Beale, meanwhile, absorbed every hit and tackle at second-five for NSW and made what should have been ruled a try-saving tackle on Crusaders freight train Nemani Nadolo in the Super Rugby final.

Wherever he end ups in defence, there will plenty of work for the Australian playmaker.

Ad Feedback

At a skills session put on by team sponsor AIG, Jane - long considered the All Blacks' joker - laid it on thick.

"When you have the 'Big Bus' [Savea] running down at him, [Savea] is quite easy to tackle - you just hit him high and he's quite fragile," he said of the 195-centimetre winger who has notched 23 tries in 22 Test matches. 

"I reckon [Beale] will be fine. That's what it is in New Zealand, you fire shots and stuff like that to get into each others' heads, but I'm not really into that, just go out there and play rugby and see what happens."

Jokes aside, there is no shortage of motivation for the All Blacks, and not just because it would be a record-breaking 18th win. As Jane put it: "If it was a game of marbles against Aussie I would want to win." 

"When New Zealand play 'Aussie', we respect each other, but we want to beat them, we want that Bledisloe Cup," he said.

"I didn't get to play last year because I was injured, so I want to get back in there and have a taste. It's going to be an epic battle, because Aussie have played well over the last few games and we haven't done too bad either. It's going to go down to the wire."

- Sydney Morning Herald

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content