The difference between winning and losing a tier one Test match, is often the execution of an insightful game plan. The All Blacks performance against France was a classic example of this.
The role of the loose forward trio is to retain possession when we have the ball and retrieve it when the opposition have possession.
The target zone to achieve this, irrespective of structure or patterns of play, is the tackle/contact area.
Reiko Ioane became the eighth youngest All Blacks Test debutant ever at the tender age of 19 years old. This was only 18 months after he made his debut for the All Blacks Sevens team as a 17-year old in Wellington in 2015.
Ioane is an exceptional talent, and while I never saw him play as a child – I would imagine his future in rugby was clear the moment he stepped on the rugby field from a very young age.
However this is not the case for every man that’s ever worn an All Blacks jersey – and certainly not for the majority of players.
The most qualified and fit player to wear the All Black No 8 jersey against France, is Brad Shields.
I applaud Steve Hansen and his selectors for the job they have done for so many years in selecting and managing our best players to play successfully for the All Blacks.
But in Brad Shields, they have missed a trick.
Did Fiji choose the latter?