Coles revealed captain Kieran Read had to gather the team together after they looked rattled in the opening 15 minutes of the Pool B match.
“We weren’t really that settled. Reado brought us in and said ‘the next guy just hold the ball and the nearest guy just clean’ so we could get a bit of momentum,” Coles said yesterday.
“Once we settled down we made a few line breaks and put a bit of pressure on them. I don’t know if it was nerves. I think it was just one person did it [throw the ball] and the next person thought he had to do it.
“The way that we adapted to it we showed some good signs.”
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Coles, who was replaced at halftime due to a calf niggle which he said wasn’t serious, praised the All Blacks for the way they adapted to South Africa’s defensive pressure.
“In the last game [in the Rugby Championship] they brought a lot of line speed and put us under pressure and we couldn’t adapt. It could still be better — but we did that really well.
“Our defence, as well; they made a few line breaks and Richie Mo’unga did an outstanding cover tackle on their winger,” he said referring to Mo’unga’s brilliant cover defence to stop electric winger Cheslin Kolbe. “Just that willingness to get back and make a tackle and never give up were two promising signs as well.”
Here's the player ratings from England's win against Tonga, where one man in particular stood out.https://t.co/B7qWwl9YOv
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 22, 2019
Playing the Springboks in front of a mainly Japanese crowd at Yokohama Stadium, many of whom were supporting the All Blacks, was a very different experience for the New Zealanders.
There were many locals wearing black jerseys and black face paint as the All Blacks began their World Cup defence with a 23-13 victory against the old enemy. But there were many wearing the red and white jerseys of Japan but cheering for the All Blacks — support acknowledged at the end by a coordinated bow by the New Zealand players to all four sides of the stadium.
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