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'Highest in the world': Ex-All Black explains the Ryan standard

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks John Kirwan and Justin Marshall have praised the work of new All Blacks assistant Jason Ryan after the Crusaders forward coach joined the set-up. Since Ryan has joined the coaching staff the All Blacks have not conceded a rolling maul try in four Tests against South Africa and Argentina, two of the strongest packs in world rugby, while their discipline has continually improved to avoid defending those situations.

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The former Blues coach explained on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown that Ryan’s approach is exactly what is expected by ex-players and the public. “Expectations around the All Blacks performance should be the highest in the world,” Kirwan told The Breakdown panel.

“The New Zealand public is very demanding, as are us as ex-All Black players. The way he [Ryan] fronts up and says, ‘Look at yourselves in the mirror’, that was the way we played, look at yourself first. Last night [Saturday] is our standard. We were talking after the game, a few years ago we put 58 on the Australian team.

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“I’m not going to say that is going to happen but let us rebuild on what happened last night (in Hamilton). Amazing performance and they need another great performance against Australia for everyone to say ‘that was just a bump’. We need to see them take off from here.”

The All Blacks made just three handling errors in wet conditions in what was their most clinical performance of the year as Los Pumas looked a totally different side to the one that stunned in Christchurch last week.

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Former All Blacks half-back Justin Marshall offered some insight into the way Ryan prepares, saying he is ‘unmatched’ in terms of the attention to detail in New Zealand. He has been able to lend his view over many areas of the All Blacks game, not just the set-piece lineout. “I don’t think there is any secret in New Zealand rugby coaching circles that Jason Ryan’s detail is unmatched,” said Marshall.

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“You can hear it in the way that he speaks. He is talking about players going squarer, he is talking about dual tackles, he is talking about the little microelements in the game. If you are slightly off at Test level, then you get beaten. I don’t think it is up for debate how good he is at the detail in all departments.

“He is not just a lineout forward guy. H does breakdown work, tackle techniques. He is across the board. Very well balanced.”

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