Caleb Clarke wants to get more involved after 'pretty weird' Cardiff clash
While the All Blacks managed to score eight tries against Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, it certainly wasn’t the expansive affair many were expecting ahead of the weekend.
Despite playing under the roof, it was a relatively slippery affair in Cardiff and the All Blacks made most of their gains by churning the ball up through the middle via their dominant forwards.
For the outside backs, it was perhaps a less exciting affair. Sevu Reece managed just two touches on the right wing while Caleb Clarke had little more luck on the left, with the ball only really starting to come his way once the result was well and truly sewn up in the final quarter when New Zealand led by 18 points.
Speaking to media this week, Clarke has acknowledged that while it was a strange affair, he probably could have done more to get his hands on the ball.
“It actually was pretty weird,” said the 23-year-old. “I had a conversation with (Wales winger) Louis Rees-Zammit after the game and we were both just saying how quiet it was for us outsides but it’s what you expect.
“We thought we were going to get a bit more ball under the roof but felt like there was a bit of dew out there so it was a bit of a forwards game.
“[Seeing the forwards truck the ball up] just made me want to get in there a bit more. I felt like I should have helped out [but] it was real inspirational for [the backs to see] the forwards to just pull up their socks and carry forward so it was all good.”
This weekend’s match-up with Scotland could well be played in similar conditions. Edinburgh is supposed to experience a bit of a purple patch on Sunday but plenty of rain will fall in the days leading up to the fixture, which could lead to a slippery turf and a greasy pill.
Whatever the weather, Clarke says the All Blacks will once again need to front up physically if they’re going to overcome a Scottish side that will be out to avenge their most recent loss to NZ, when they within an inch of stealing a historic win.
“We touched on it at the start of the week. Fozzie mentioned how [the last Scotland game] could have gone either way and it was Beaudy stopping a try in the corner that saved the day,” Clarke said.
“We know how much Scotland’s hurting from [last time] and we know how much motivation Scotland will have to come into this game. That’s what we’ve got to be ready for as a team and I know we’ll build throughout the week to get ready for the match.
“It’ll be a tough-fought match on all parts of the field. We know there are threats out wide as well. They get over the ball. So I think it’s just going to be a 1 to 23 – it’s even going to take a whole squad to take down an opponent like Scotland. We want to build throughout this week and then just get ready to go out all guns blazing on Sunday.”
Sunday’s match is due to kick off at 2pm GMT from Murrayfield.
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