The great John Kirwan of the All Blacks has questioned the innovative potential of Team New Zealand ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup. The All Blacks often led the way with new ideas at the heart of their back-to-back cup victories in 2011 and 2015.
Kirwan senses a force gathering in the northern hemisphere to threaten the Webb Ellis Cup’s southern dominance toward France.. The All Blacks will have to work hard to counter this and take a closer look at the timing of any new tricks they want to reveal.
According to Kirwan, there was a real improvement in quality compared to the northern hemisphere. Moreover, they clearly know their style. During the last World Cup, they suggested innovations, suggested capsules and passed back.
Here are Kirwan’s words on the subject:
If there is an innovation coming, when will it be released? It really is a difficult question to answer. Because sports are always at the forefront of innovation, and when you think about games, it’s hard to tell. Is it more kicks, less kicks, different types of kicks, there are things to try this year. However, you also don’t have to show all your cards because you only have 30 tests left.
It’s a tricky equation and Foster’s latest team provides little clues from the national editions. He will be under pressure to improve in his first year at the helm.
New Zealand managed to retain the Bledisloe Cup and win the Rugby Championship, but only had three wins out of six Tests and suffered a historic loss to Argentina. Looking at Foster’s newest team, Kirwan felt the All Blacks were skinny in some key niche areas in midfield and back row.