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The All Blacks tactics that broke Argentina's defence

By Ned Lester
Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

The All Blacks made many adjustments for their second test against Argentina, perhaps most notable was the changes in their kicking tactics.

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While running into an Argentinian wall in Christchurch, the All Blacks attack looked out of ideas and struggled to create any meaningful attacking opportunities.

However, with new attack coach Joe Schmidt at the helm, coming off a South African series which saw the All Blacks make winning adjustments for their second test, an improvement on that side of the ball was anticipated.

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But even for the eternal optimism of ex-Blues hooker and Aotearoa Rugby Pod panelist James Parsons, a win to the tune of 53-3 was more than All Blacks fans had bargained for.

“I just think their kick strategy was on point.” Parsons said.

“They only kicked 15 times in Christchurch, compared to 32 in Hamilton and that was a mixture of those kicks.

“Obviously, they had the contestables off 10, David Havili with his cross kicks or his little attacking kicks in behind, and that just means defences have to think: ‘are they going to kick, are they going to run?’ That gives players time on the ball.

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“You saw obviously with Rieko’s [Ioane] performance and Caleb Clarke and others, that when they have that time on the ball due to that manipulation of that defence and not allowing them that line-speed they can be real threats.”

The All Blacks certainly had Argentina’s defence second guessing their line speed. Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga and David Havili all implemented a variety of tactical kicks that disrupted the Pumas rhythm.

Parsons co-panelist and former Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall echoed his sentiments around the kicking tactics.

“I thought their (the All Blacks) kicking game was great.” Hall agreed.

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“The attacking kicks, with being able to stunt that defensive pressure, with Richie (Mo’unga) and even Dave (Havili) putting them in.”

Parsons went on to expand on his previous comments.

“The amount of kicking they did, especially early, to make sure they adjusted that line speed pressure of Argentina and that obviously allowed them to play their game after that.

“It was more the way they orchestrated it, they didn’t try and rush, they didn’t try and over-play their hand, they manipulated the defence and played on their terms, which is most impressive.

“The skill execution was great, but again I think it was a plan, they didn’t over complicate things, they kept it simple, and because they had that disconnect between the defenders of the Argentinians, they could probably have that accuracy that we haven’t seen previously.”

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