All Blacks focus on getting the basics right

TOBY ROBSON IN EDINBURGH
Last updated 05:00 06/11/2012
	 All Blacks
Getty

FOCUS ON BASICS: The All Blacks warm up during a training session in Edinburgh.

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Analysing the opposition remains a priority under new coach Steve Hansen, but he says the All Blacks are looking mostly in the mirror in the build up to the first test against Scotland.

Hansen's predecessor Graham Henry was renowned for the amount of time he spent identifying trends in the northern game to exploit, while it was also a trait of assistant Wayne Smith.

"I was there when we were doing that too. Nothing has changed. Game trends are important," Hansen said when asked how much analysis had been done on Scotland ahead of the opening test.

"But at the moment when we get it right we're causing a few teams a few issues.

"It's making sure we get it right 100 per cent of the time and that's our challenge.

"The game hasn't changed from the day it started.

"You've still got to get quality ball from your set-piece, you've still got to go forward with your back-line and in the end you've got to score more points that your opposition.

"How you do that because of subtle law changes is why we call them game trends but you've still got to do the basics well."

That's about where Hansen made it clear putting right the sloppy 18-all draw with Australia in Brisbane last month is the team's No 1 focus.

"If you look back at our last performance we didn't [do the basics well].

"Our set-piece was poor, our back attack was poor, our defence was poor so three key areas we were poor in.

"We need to have a look at ourselves and fix that. We're well and truly capable of doing that."

Hansen is the ideal man to restore standards according to captain Richie McCaw, who writes of his coach in his book.

"Steve Hansen has a different but very complementary approach [to Henry and Smith].

"He has a great feel for how things are now, and he's able to get in front of the team without doing as much homework, but work his way in and get the best out of the players.

"McCaw reinforced that this week when he said there was a lingering disappointment that standards has slipped during the Brisbane bumble.

It wasn't the result the squad were looking to give Keven Mealamu in his 100th test and the hooker said an honest review session in Edinburgh had aired some home truths.

"We walked away from the game disappointed that we didn't play well. We left some real clear opportunities out there.

"Over the last couple of days we've looked at that last game and how we can get better," he said.

"As a team we are always looking to improve. Coming off our last game we want to make sure we do the job well and put the score aside... If we can do that we'll be happy."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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