READER REPORT:

Four questions re the All Blacks' first test

ARTHUR BLAIR
Last updated 09:30 09/06/2014
Aaron Smith
Photosport
BAD MOVE: Why was Aaron Smith pulled near the end of the game when he was playing so well?

All Blacks vs England: Your match analysis

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All Blacks vs England: Your match analysis

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The All Blacks won the first test against England, but it certainly wasn't pretty. We asked readers to share their match analysis. Arthur Blair has four questions:

1. Can the backs play this poorly again and expect to win?

While the forwards generally fronted up, the backline looked like it had only met a couple of hours before the game. The ball was kicked away far too much and for too little effect.

2. When Israel Dagg came off, why was Beauden Barrett put in at fullback where he looked uncomfortable and out of place? Wouldn't it have made more sense to put Ben Smith at fullback and either Barrett or Fekitoa on the wing?

After all, Ben Smith has been stellar for the Highlanders all year at 15.

3. Why was Aaron Smith pulled near the end of the game when he was playing so well?

TJ Perenara came on and made two mistakes that could have been crucial - first was a crooked scrum feed that gave England the ball, second was a box kick to England in the dying minutes of the game when the better option should have been to grind it.

A better team than England might have made the All Blacks pay dearly for these errors.

4. Are McCaw's legs finally starting to feel their age?

He was not as influential or as prominent on the weekend as we have seen in the past. It could be that he was just working his way back to form and the next two tests will tell, but the question has to be asked: is he starting to become more valuable to the All Blacks as a captain than as an open-side flanker?


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