All Blacks will play better this weekend - professor
Many New Zealanders were disappointed with the All Blacks' unpolished performance against the Wallabies at the weekend and fear they may not be up to their best for the rest of the Rugby Championship.
But fans should not expect big victories by the All Blacks every time they enter the international arena, University of Canterbury associate sports professor Ian Culpan says.
Culpan said Kiwis had extremely high expectations of their national side, but the All Blacks were now in a "new phase of their development", where new strategies, new coaches and new targets were being set.
''As outside observers, keen as we may be, we need to be mindful of this new environment. We need to be mindful that the new coaches will have different goals both long and short-term and for the keen rugby observer it becomes an interesting exercise to quietly analyse what the 'newness' brings," he said.
"This is the beauty of sport. This is the mystique of the All Blacks and the passion we have as New Zealanders."
The coaches, along with All Black management staff, were spending a lot of time trying to get the new balance right, Culpan believed.
''The All Blacks environment continually seeks to improve; incremental improvements are part of the culture. This is why they are successful."
He believed the All Blacks would perform better against Australia at Eden Park this Saturday.
''The first test of a series often results in tentativeness particularly around combinations. This present team will be all the better for the first test run and will now start to crank up the smoothness of operations. I imagine the All Blacks will be looking for accuracy and continuity in the test at Eden Park this weekend.
''The All Blacks' record over the last decade suggests that, despite some epic battles, they consistently find a way to overcome.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
How far will the Crusaders go this year?Related story: Crusaders: Injury ends Taylor's season