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Crockett braced for France battle

New Zealand prop Wyatt Crockett

Wyatt Crockett is expecting “the very best” from France this weekend and knows New Zealand will have to raise their game in Paris. 

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Les Bleus gave the world champions a major examination in their final Test of 2016, the All Blacks winning 24-19 despite being on the back foot for long periods.

New Zealand prop Crockett is expecting more of the same at Stade de France on Saturday and said the forwards are relishing the challenge.

“We know that the French always love that scrum battle. It’s a big part of their club rugby scene over here and international mindset, to win that scrum battle,” Crockett commented.

“They’re passionate and physical in the way they play so we’ll definitely have to be sure to step things up.

“Last year was a massive test, it went right down to the wire and we had to really dig right down to our depths to try and win that Test match.

“The French on their day will beat anyone so we definitely expect the very best from them this week.”

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Sam Whitelock echoed Crockett’s sentiments, saying the All Blacks have learned from the encounter in 2016.

“If you look back to last year when we last played them, the physical battle was massive and went right through the whole 80 minutes,” said the experienced lock.

“Right at the end of the game we were on our own line for a number of phases which is a place we didn’t want to be. We’ve taken the learnings from that and hopefully can sort a few of those things out going forward.”

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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