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'What specifically are you getting at?': Moody bristles at NZ pack criticism

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

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While the All Blacks may have suffered a 29-20 defeat at the hands of Ireland over the weekend, prop Joe Moody has rebuked any suggestions that the New Zealand pack didn’t stand up to their Irish opposites.


The All Blacks struggled to navigate their way through an aggressive Irish defence and had to operate with just 39 per cent possession in Dublin, making it difficult to get points on the board.

Individual errors also accounted for some of the side’s troubles, with poor kick decisions and execution often letting the team down.

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The panel of Ross Karl, Bryn Hall and James Parsons run their eyes over all the developments from the past week of rugby.
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The panel of Ross Karl, Bryn Hall and James Parsons run their eyes over all the developments from the past week of rugby.

While Moody, who got through almost 60 minutes of action on Saturday, acknowledged that there were some defensive lapses at times, he’s shut down any suggestions that the tight five weren’t able to compete at the set-piece.

When asked whether the forwards were stung following the match, given the ‘great expectations’ held of the All Blacks forward, Moody bristled.

“What specifically are you getting at in regards to the pack?” he fired back. “It was definitely a tough night at the office and it was a physical game but at the same time, when you’re talking about the pack … we didn’t take any backwards steps or anything like that.

“I don’t think speaking of the pack specifically was where we sort of let the game go.”


Moody had previously spoken of how tough the encounter had been, especially in the forwards, and how banged up the bodies were after the clash.

“It was a very heavy load, we definitely felt it coming out of the game yesterday,” he said. “It was a pretty tough physical battle, as you would have seen, and I guess it’s what test matches are all about, I suppose.”

He also expressed his satisfaction at how well the forwards had stood up in the battle – but that they perhaps hadn’t pushed on to get the rewards, and how much the scrummaging unit has grown since the beginning of the tour.

“With the set-piece, there was probably a couple of things we could have ironed out in both aspects, with lineout and scrum. I felt like we really had them under a bit of pressure [at] scrum time at a couple of points and then we almost let them off, I suppose.


“Honestly, I think it’s actually come a long way, specifically talking about the scrum, anyway. From the start of the tour to where we are now, I feel like things are really starting to gel for us and some of the things that we’ve been working on are coming right and we’ve gone forward and taken a few good steps forward.”

Earlier in the week, head coach Ian Foster suggested that it was the backs who probably had to sharpen up following the match-up with Ireland.

“I think our pack’s gone pretty well through the year. Overall, I’ve been reasonably satisfied to date,” he said. “Certainly, we got put on the back foot a little bit last night, but parts of our forward play, I thought, was really good.

“It’s really a matter of backs being accountable for the decisions they make and retaining the ball to give our forwards a chance to impose themselves, and that’s going to be a big part of the solution.”

While Moody certainly did lay any blame on his teammates, he acknowledged that one-off errors made it difficult for the All Blacks to build any ascendency, regardless of how the forwards performed as a unit.

“It’s all very individual, on a case by case type thing,” he said. “Whether it be a dropped ball or a poor pass or whatever it is, it’s very case by case. I guess it all comes down to a little bit of the pressure that the opposition is putting on as well. It’s a tough one [to fix].

The All Blacks have the opportunity to finish the year on a winning note when they take on France in Paris this weekend.


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