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'I'm going to get right amongst it': Jason Ryan reveals robust plan for 2023

By Ned Lester
Jason Ryan at All Blacks training. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New All Blacks forwards coach Jason Ryan has been praised for his significant role in turning the All Blacks’ 2022 season around, and as he prepares for a World Cup year, the former front-rower will be taking to the frosty fields of Christchurch to “stay sharp” on his feel for the game in real-time.

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Ryan has planned out his 2023 to ensure he excels in all facets of his role with the All Blacks, planning for the World Cup, spending time with each of the Kiwi Super Rugby clubs and offering his talents to local clubs and schools.

Often heard reciting the quote “players don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care”, Ryan’s plan for 2023 proves he is putting his money where his mouth is by spending time in a number of different environments and maximising his relationships with the rugby community throughout the country.

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“I’m going to get right amongst it,” Ryan told Stuff. “Get the whistle on and have a few trainings at night, in the wet and in the cold. You can’t forget your roots as a coach. That’s where I started, so that’s where I will be putting some work in.

“I know I’ve got to stay sharp. Because if I’ve had all this time off and away from the game, it’s not going to bring me in sharp, and I need to be at my absolute best next year.”

Having spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach at the Crusaders, the international season poses a different scheduling challenge for Ryan. He looks to make the most of his extra time throughout the early months of the year, working with his Super Rugby counterparts to ensure there is alignment throughout the spine of New Zealand rugby, and he made sure to mention there will be no special treatment for his former Canterbury club.

“I think it’s important I speak to all the clubs, there’s not one that’s got to stand out more than the other. I’ve got to be neutral in my thoughts, I’ve got to be really clear on what we need as an All Black forward pack, and a part of that is talking to all the Super Rugby clubs.”

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Speaking on his sudden promotion to the national side, Ryan said it was important to keep his goals and mentality simple and stay true to himself as a person and a coach.

“I was just like, ‘I’ve got to go in and support the coaching and management team, be honest with the players and do my job’. That’s what I wrote down – ‘do your own job’ – I couldn’t afford to be looking at noises or anything like that…I just had to get stuck in.

“I pride myself on being really honest with the players and the management group. I am who I am, I’m not trying to be anyone else. Skill set wise, I know what works and what I believe in, and I drive that. The players appreciate being honest and not sugar-coating anything. They thrive on the detail, and we made some progress.

“But you can’t stand still. You can never be satisfied when you are in the All Blacks. It never finishes.”

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Shaylen 4 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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Jon 9 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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