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Luke Jacobson on how the All Blacks will combat England's 'heat'

By Ben Smith
Rieko Ioane of the New Zealand All Blacks during the International Test Match between New Zealand All Blacks and England at Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 06, 2024 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

All Blacks loose forward Luke Jacobson is looking to eliminate England’s breakdown threats as they build on the performance from the first Test.

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Jacobson came into the contest as a replacement for blindside Samipeni Finau, filling that role despite being prepped for all three loose forward roles.

He managed 19 minutes and helped the All Blacks close out the win as they moved to a territorial game.

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“England brought a lot of heat, on defence and attack and we expected that. We got what we expected,” Jacobson said of the 16-15 win.

England won six ruck turnovers, with two from young winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and one each to Marcus Smith, Maro Itoje, Ben Earl and Ollie Lawrence.

It was an area that the All Blacks “missed a beat” according to Jacobson that they will look to put right in the second Test.

“It was a focus last week as well, maybe missed the beat there a little bit. They put pressure on the breakdown and it’s going to be key for us this weekend to win the race there and not give them day light,” he said.

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“Getting there nice and early and ruling out any sniffs they have there.”

The dynamic loose forward trio of Chandler Cunningham-Smith, Sam Underhill and Ben Earl caused headaches for the All Blacks with their ability to punish ball carriers in the tackle and get over the breakdown.

The directive is for the whole team to be sharper when it comes to securing rucks.

“They’ve got a good trio, whoever is on the field. They’re pretty abrasive on defence, they like to get over the ball,” he said.

“They pride themselves on getting turnovers, so we need a little more on our breakdown, being early there.

“That’s not just a loosie thing, that’s a whole team focus.”

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The feedback on the All Blacks defence from the coaches was pretty good as a starting block.

Their unit held England to 15 points and didn’t concede any penalties in the contact area, a disciplined start to the year.

The pressure they deliver will be dialled up as they look to improve.

“As whole it was pretty good, I don’t think it was perfect but there are building blocks there,” Jacobson said.

“There are a few ways we can get better and put pressure on them, so hopefully you’ll see a little bit more there this weekend.

“I think for a first Test, not too bad.”

On the other side of the ball, Robertson expressed disappointment at not getting more reward for the first half dominance they had.

They were able to construct two tries but more went begging as England’s rush defence did enough to disrupt the timing and accuracy of the passes.

On the keys to breaking England down this week, there will be some adjustments by the All Blacks.

“They have a real fast defensive line so we’ve got to be able to combat that, they rush in, we’ve got to be able to hold our feet and get the ball to wear we want it,” Jacobson said.

“Punch in behind them. They’ve got quite a good kicking game, pressure the ball, it’s key we get back and block them out.

“The energy during the week is a bit different coming off the back of a win opposed to a loss. In saying that, England will be looking at the game a little bit harder, looking at different ways they can expose us.”

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Wonton 4 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 5 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

15 Go to comments
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