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Duane Vermeulen: 'My goal has never changed, I want to represent the Springboks at the World Cup'

Man-of-the-match at the last World Cup final, and turning 37 next month, the legendary No 8 still has the hunger for one last dance in France

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'You can't be a fan': All Black coach on 'removing clutter' in this year's turnaround

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

New All Blacks forwards coach Jason Ryan has assessed the season and marked it as a ‘pass’ after the side took steps in the right direction in the back half of the year.


After joining the coaching group after the series loss to Ireland, the All Blacks went on to win the Rugby Championship title while retaining the Bledisloe and Freedom Cups.

They had an undefeated end-of-year tour with three wins and a draw to finish the season on a seven match unbeaten streak to offer hope to New Zealand rugby fans that they will contend at next year’s World Cup.

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“I’d give it a pass,” Ryan told Newstalk ZB’s All Sport Breakfast

“I thought we were tracking okay in patches. I think we’ve played some good games, we’ve definitely made some shifts in the back end of the season, that’s really clear.

“Removed a lot of clutter and uncertainty that was there. We are pretty strong on our identity and who we are and how we want to play.

“Other than that last nine minutes in that England test, we aren’t going to overlook that, that’s for sure it will be on the agenda for us, but I think we made some strides forward in the right direction.”


The whirlwind season saw the Crusaders assistant coach quickly promoted to the All Blacks ranks with limited time to prepare for the start of the Rugby Championship campaign in South Africa.

Despite the limited prep time, the pressure was on immediately to turnaround results with the second test against the Springboks a pivotal time for New Zealand Rugby.

The new assistant said the job took ‘a lot’ out of him and shared his approach to the role and what he demands from his forwards.

“You get asked often if you enjoy it, the way I look at it coaching the All Blacks, you can’t be a fan,” Ryan explained.


“You can’t be someone who is a fan of the All Blacks. You’ve got to be really challenging them, and striving them to be better and really putting it on the forward pack when it’s needed.

“Making sure they’ve got phenomenal standards that are above any other team.

“You have those moments, I know I have it, when the anthem is played or when you get on the All Black bus, like okay this is pretty cool but other than that you are just all go.

“It’s pretty high octane. It pulls a lot of out of you.

“It’s going to ask a lot of me next year, and all of us, and that’s what we want. It means that people care and want the All Blacks to do well.”

The All Blacks have eight weeks off before returning for a special camp in late January, the first time that the team has met so early in the season.

Ryan said the players will return to Super Rugby but the playing time of certain All Blacks will be managed according to the agreed plan with the clubs.

“There’s a bit of case-by-case stuff around that [playing time at Super Rugby],” he said.

“The Super Rugby clubs are well aware of that, we presented that plan for them in October before we went on the Northern tour.

“So they are really aware around what that is and aligned with it.

“It’s a World Cup year, it’s around making sure that plan is right to make sure the All Blacks are fresh and sharp for the right time of year.”


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RUGBYPASS+ Duane Vermeulen: 'My goal has never changed, I want to represent the Springboks at the World Cup' Duane Vermeulen: 'My goal has never changed, I want to represent the Springboks at the World Cup'